Mightier Than the Sword

Filled with footnotes, idiomatic expressions, allusions, and puns—both funny and dry, Mightier than the Sword is Drew Callander’s and Alana Harrison’s newest middle-grade novel illustrated by Ryan Andrews.

In this interactive book that encourages writing, drawing, and doodling, the very fabric of Astorya is under attack, and a non-fictional human suffering from amnesia must rescue Prince S, save the storied characters from the vicious Queen Rulette, and open a starway so that he can return to his world and restore his identity.

However, in order to do all that, he has to first survive the Land Under the Couch inhabited by the Dust Bunnies, obtain coury powder from the Old Factory, get past the Despicable Six, enter the Hanging Gardens, lead the ninja army, storm the Fuchsia Plum Palace, escape the Rubots, and confront the Queen.  The greedy Rulette favors a world with a single story and wants to erase the stories of all others.

As weapons in setting right this world gone awry, the book’s protagonist has only a pencil and his senses to guide him until he can get the coury powder to power the Couriers: “Equal parts: Scents of Humor, Scents of Direction, Scents of Right and Wrong, Scents of Purpose, and Scents of Timing” (126).

Because the amnesiac human and his side-kick Manteau, a French-speaking, quick-witted stoat with dangerous dance moves, know the value of a world with multiple stories, they—along with the Couriers—seek to preserve original stories.  Manteau tells Queen Rulette: “We all have our own stories.  We behave how we are written, not how you or anyone else would like us to” (223).

This is a cleverly written book with several subliminal messages about the effects of marginalization, the danger of a single story, and the power of words—not only do words become weapons, who wields a word often determines its impact upon delivery, as well.

  • Posted by Donna

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