HEART TAKES THE STAGE

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Having taken over the daily “Heart of the City” webcomic in mid-2020 and freshened up both the art and the cast, cartoonist Steenz gathers their first seven or so months’ worth of strips. Between landing the lead in the school play and hosting a Halloween costume party, drama queen Heart campaigns to get her ears pierced, tries a series of ill-fated fundraisers from babysitting to life coach, and also sees her teachers strike (“So does this mean the homework that I definitely did won’t be due today?”) and her friend Dean, a massive geek, meet his match in classmate Charlotte. Heart, her single mom, and most of the other characters in the spirited ensemble are light-skinned, but Charlotte, like her moms, is dark-skinned, and even if the comment Kat, another friend, makes about not having her heart set on any boys at school goes over Heart’s head, it should register with readers. Overall, Heart’s world is stocked with good friends and tolerant adults, free of bullies or mean girls, and rich in experiences that invite laughing with rather than at the participants. The end is abrupt but free of cliffhangers, and continuing strips are available free online for hooked readers.

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