Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In an earnest graphic novel about embracing one's true self, 11-and-a-half-year-old Lumberjackula, who has teal skin and sports a red flannel, agonizes about choosing between a perceived either/or around his half-lumberjack, half-vampire heritage. Lumberjacks and vampires peacefully coexist in Hollow Tree, but they largely lead separate lives. After finishing their combined early schooling, flannel-clad lumberjack children of various skin tones attend Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep to learn wood splitting and logrolling, while cloaked, blue-skinned vampires study hypnosis and flight at Sorrow's Gloom Vampire Academy. Though Jack's supportive parents say that the choice of school is up to him, he's aware of both family legacies and doesn't feel like he fits in at either place. When an enthusiastic performer from nearby Branchborough sees Jack dance, and encourages him to enroll at Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy, the idea opens up new anxieties--and refreshing options. In rounded lines and subdued colors, Owen's cartoon art renders the friendly world with winning details, including dance-party interstitials that show Jack working through his feelings. Heagerty (Martian Ghost Centaur) refreshingly keeps the conflict focused on Jack's internal insecurities in this good-natured slice-of-life story that wields familiar tropes to laud embracing myriad intersections of identity. Ages 8--12. (July)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 3--6--Meet Jack! He's an 11-year-old lumberjack vampire who just graduated from "under school" and must decide where he will go to school next: Sorrow's Gloom Vampire Academy or Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep. His lumberjack mother and vampire father say the decision is his to make, but he's definitely feeling pressured to not let anyone in his family down. Worse still, neither school seems to be right for him. With his pointy ears and fangs, he doesn't look like any of the other lumberjack kids, but his fear of heights makes it impossible for him to keep up with the other vampire kids in bat flying lessons. Feeling like a failure in addition to being overwhelmed with deciding his future, Jack turns to the one thing that makes him feel better: dancing! It's during one of these impromptu dance moments that Jack meets a new friend who tells him about Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy! For Jack, it's a dream come true, but how can he follow his dreams if it means disappointing the family he loves? Owen's vibrant and expressive illustrations add an extra layer of whimsy and liveliness to an already humorous story with engaging and creative worldbuilding. While characters are depicted with an array of skin colors, Jack's lumberjack family are light-skinned. VERDICT A delightful romp through a magical world of fangs and flannel sure to keep young readers on their (twinkle) toes.--Amanda Melilli
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Half lumberjack and half vampire, Lumberjackula must figure out where he belongs. Lumberjackula, Jack for short, is a cute, blue-skinned 11 1/2-year-old boy with the pointy ears and fangs of a vampire and the bushy beard of a lumberjack. It is time for Jack to decide whether to follow in his burly mother's footsteps and attend lumberjack school or attend vampire school like his spooky father. While he has talents in both areas, Jack's real passion is dance. There are several spreads that showcase Jack's adorable dance moves, which he breaks out especially when processing emotions. He really wants to attend Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy, but he is afraid to tell his parents. While Jack worries about what his parents think, it's clear to readers that they will never be anything less than supportive. This keeps the stakes low and makes for a predictable read, even for the intended age group. Despite this lack of tension or anticipation, the premise, endearing cartoon art, whimsical worldbuilding, and characters are charming enough to carry readers to the end. The moral is a step above the obvious "be who you are": a more nuanced "be everything you are." A low-stakes plot balanced by lovable characters and setting. (Graphic novel. 7-11) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.