Nell of Gumbling: My Extremely Normal Fairy Tale Life by Emma Steinkelliner
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: September 26, 2023
Raina Telgemeir meets the Land of Stories in this charming graphic novel-diary hybrid about a twelve-year-old girl and her perfectly average magical life.
To everyone else, the Magical Land of Gumbling is something out of fairy tales. But to Nell Starkeeper, it’s just home. Sure, the town community center might be a castle, her dads run a star farm, and her best friend Myra is a fairy, but Nell is much more interested in finding out if she’ll get the seventh grade apprenticeship of her dreams with world-famous artist Wiz Bravo.
She’s pretty sure her entire life has been RUINED when she’s instead matched with boring old Mrs. Birdneck in the town archives. And of course her perfect rival Leabelle gets to work with Wiz, and mean girl Viola won’t let Nell forget it. Meanwhile, suddenly Myra seems more into hanging out with Leabelle and saving the town from some weird strangers who keep talking about turning Gumbling into a fancy resort than being friends with Nell anymore. Can Nell find a way to save everything that makes her world magical, while figuring out where she belongs in it?
About the Author:
Emma Steinkellner is an illustrator, cartoonist, and writer based in Los Angeles, CA.
She is the author and illustrator of the middle grade graphic novel The Okay Witch (Aladdin, Fall 2019). The Okay Witch tells the story of 13-year-old Moth Hush, who learns that magic is to be expected when you’re a Hush in an adventure that spans centuries, generations, and even worlds as Moth unravels the complicated legacy of witches at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.
She is a graduate of Stanford University’s department of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, where she created, wrote, and illustrated her thesis It Gets Weird, a science fiction sex ed graphic novel for adolescent readers and where she proclaimed herself “one of Stanford’s most elite goons”.
Working in print and webcomics, Emma has illustrated projects with her radiant sister, writer Kit Steinkellner, including the teen rom-com webcomic Aces and the Eisner-nominated superhero coming-of-age story Quince with Fanbase Press and is the creator of the comic diary Pow Slam Sparkle.
I have read the Okay Witch Series by Emma which I thoroughly enjoyed. So you can imagine how ecstatic when a new blog tour for Nell of Gumbling I knew that I really wanted to read it,
Nell was a great main character. There were so many good side characters and my favourite was Schmitty she was hilarious, I admit it did throw me when there were both text and what you would call the normal graphic novel setup but I get why Emma did this as the book would interest both kinds of readers and maybe an introduction into graphic novels. As usual Emma's illustrations were impeccable and I loved the stories at the end of the book these were pure genius.
I am not going to say anything more about the book except to say that throughout there are so many messages which could be used for discussions.
For all the above reasons Nell of Gumbling My Extremely Normal Fairy-tale life gets 4 stars. I would love a revisit to this world.