Reviews /

Luna and the Treasure of Tlaloc

Authored by Joe Todd-Stanton
Illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
Published by Flying Eye Books

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Professor Brownstone has been busy compiling his family’s adventures, this being the fifth instalment of a wonderful series that has enticed young readers into finding out about Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, and Norse and Greek mythology. Here, we go to Central America, as we explore parts of the Aztec Empire.

The Brownstone family member we meet this time is Luna, immediately revealed to be the most cunning of all the Brownstones. Why? Well, she has stolen, pinched and swiped whatever she wanted from all over the world, becoming ensconced in greed and self-righteousness.

Hearing of the gold that the Aztecs have gathered, she visits, and stumbles upon Atzi, a young girl who is tasked with approaching the rain god, Tlaloc, hoping to appease him so that the droughts might stop and her people can grow crops. Luna sees this opportunity and offers to help…but of course, has her own questionable intentions.

There are battles, narrow escapes, and plenty more, including fleeting moments with gods such as Quetzalcoatl, the god of wind and light, or Tezcatlipoca, the god of darkness and sorcery. I wouldn’t want to spoil the storyline too much, but rest assured that rather than Atzi receiving Luna’s ‘help’, it is Luna who is helped by Atzi. There is a clear moral to the story that is well-suited to the age range it is written for.

Joe Todd-Stanton’s detailed illustrations lead the way, as in all of stories from his Brownstone collection. Various deep shades of green reflect the Central American jungle scenes that the Aztecs may have lived close to, while the graphic novel-esque format of these stories lends itself to children who enjoy richly illustrated texts that still have depth to the storytelling. I did find one spelling mistake (who’s instead of whose) which doesn’t really matter…but once a pedant, always a pedant.

I loved this. And there are children in every class I have taught who love the series – it is a true treasure.

Shortlisted for the Spark Book Awards 2024 Graphic Novels Primary Category