REVIEW: The keeper of the Little Folks – The Fairy Balm (2021)

A Graphic Novel by Carbone & Véronique Barrau art by Charline Forns

The keeper of the Little Folks – The Fairy Balm is the first entry in a series of modern fairy tales featuring a young girl named Elina helping a rag-tag group of mythical creatures solve problems for the fae folk and other creatures. She takes the mantle of “keeper of the little folk” from her grandmother who is stuck in the hospital, potentially on her way to the “old folks home” for believing in fairies as Elina’s mother sees her position as nothing more than the dark coils of dementia taking hold on her mother. While this book is somewhat light-hearted, it has a undercurrent of darkness that helps ground most fantasy stories like this in reality. I immediately thought of books like The Neverending Story, where the main character has one foot in a real world full of tragedy, and another in a fantastical world. I mean, its not as heavy as that, but losing your grandmother unjustly to a nursing home is pretty rough.

“While visiting her in the hospital, Élina discovers that her grandmother is the Keeper of the Little Folk, protecting fairies, nymphs, naiads, and other fantastical creatures! And now, her grandmother is ready to pass her responsibilities on to Élina. It’s not a moment too soon—Llyam and Nelvyna, creatures of the Little Folk, have sent up a distress signal, because a naiad has gone missing from Bird Lake. Will Élina be able to figure out how to see the fairy creatures in time to help them in their search?”

This was a solid, self-contained entry in what I assume is going to be an ongoing series. It’s a short read, but it doesn’t feel rushed or too short. I enjoyed the art style, and the depiction of the fantastical creatures featured in this book. I also enjoyed seeing a glossary/appendix of sorts at the end that discussed some of the terms such as the Drac, a creature that acted as the books chief antagonist. It will be interesting to see where the story goes moving forward. Can Elina juggle duties as the new “keeper of the little folk” and will her mother boot her grandmother into a nursing home? There is just enough left unsaid to keep the reader excited for another chapter.

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