Spartan & the Green Egg - A Trip to the Rainforest- by Nabila Khashoggi illustrated by Manuel Cadag, is a new graphic novel written for younger readers. This richly illustrated, larger sized hard cover, full color tale is a hybrid between a graphic novel and picture book, perfect for grade school readers who may be too young for the typical graphic novel genre. This ambitious piece of work, not only is entertaining-with its simple, traditional cartoon styled art, and dialog bubbles- there is also a moral about environmental awareness as well.
This book may seem like a simple adventure that takes place in the Amazon jungle, but the message is more complex. There are subtle hints of New Age teaching with the introduction of new age concepts of "Mind Light", in which the children meditate and use their minds to contact ancient, alien entities through telepathy. Furthermore, wisdom is unexpectedly found in primitive simpler cultures such as the Indian tribe from the Amazon. This primitive culture teaches the young foursome the importance of sharing, and harmony with nature and the environment. Wisdom is found with the "Shaman", and in polytheistic, nomadic cultures.
The book promotes social responsibility in caring for the environment as well as the importance of the mind and using one's imagination. Children are introduced the ancient and indigenous cultures and sustainable environmental practices as well. Specifically, the dangers of deforestation for the purpose of financial gain is portrayed in a simple to understand format. Ironically, the children and the alien entity stop the harmful practice of logging and deforestation through deception- in which the logging corporation is frightened into repentance. The idea that the ends justify the means may not universally accepted by all parents. This might be a contradictory message for some readers- but this type of strategy is consistent with dedicated and radical environmentalists who believe that environmental protection is the goal regardless of the tactic or strategy. Some adults might find this book to be a little too "preachy" about environmentalism; overall this book is educational and entertaining. It is a great introduction to human ecology, anthropology and the environment for young children in the highly popular graphic novel format. This book is labeled as "Book 1" implying that there will be more books in this series. As a blogger I received this book published by Full Cycle for the purpose of writing this review.