The Baker and the Bard: A Cozy Fantasy Adventure (Paperback)
Author-artist Fern Haught weaves an enchanting, gentle fantasy tale of friendship, determination, and respecting nature in their debut graphic novel, The Baker and the Bard. Perfect for fans of The Tea Dragon Society, Legends & Lattes, and Animal Crossing.
Juniper and Hadley have a good thing going in Larkspur, spending their respective days apprenticing at a little bakery and performing at the local inn. But when a stranger makes an unusual order at the bakery, the two friends (and Hadley’s pet snake, Fern) set out on a journey to forage the magical mushrooms needed to make the requested galette pastries.
Along the way, Juniper and Hadley stumble across a mystery too compelling to ignore: Something has been coming out of the woods at night and eating the local farmers' crops, leaving only a trail of glowy goo behind. Intent on finally going on an adventure that could fuel their bardic craft, Hadley tows Juniper into the woods to investigate.
What started as a simple errand to pick mushrooms soon turns into a thrilling quest to save some furry new friends—and their caretaker, a softspoken little fey named Thistle—who are in danger of losing their home.
Praise for The Baker and the Bard:
"It’s right there in the title—this graphic novel is gentle, thoughtful, and, well, cozy. ... Vivid colors, rounded lettering, and soft lines mirror the vibe of this world where it is clear that (mostly safe) adventures abound but home is always only a short distance away, and your bestie (and crush) is always nearby. ... This queer-friendly graphic novel about magic and the glory of nature, set in a world where everyone belongs, feels like a warm cup of tea on a rainy night, and the appended recipe for galettes would make an added treat (though mileage may vary on whether creminis are a valid substitute for magic)." —The Bulletin
"Haught’s debut graphic novel is an empathetic tale of friendship, trust, and learning to balance expansion with preserving and living alongside nature. Soft, loosely lined illustrations and muted tones add warmth and gentility to this quintessential, cozy queer fantasy tale that will appeal to fans of The Tea Dragon Society and The Sprite and the Gardener." —Publishers Weekly
"Full of bright and colorful artwork, this gentle D&D-like fantasy is a great read for those looking for a light story or those dipping their toes into this genre for the first time. Haught cleverly touches on urban development, its environmental impact, and the importance of preserving the local ecosystem, and the budding romance between Juniper and Hadley is a sweet addition. This pleasant food-focused quest resolves happily, and readers hungry to try the mushroom tarts they ultimately make will appreciate the recipe included in the back matter." —Booklist
"This fairy tale–like story is charming and serene. The beautiful drawings depict a magical world whose inhabitants are friendly and open with simple needs and desires. ... A whimsical, sweet fantasy that is sure to delight teens looking for a magical, cozy world and nonbinary representation." —School Library Journal
"Haught’s charming debut features colorful digital art resembling watercolors that captures the mood of this magical, feel-good story, and the eco-fantasy elements are enriched by the heartwarming relationships. Gender identity is thoughtfully touched upon in a conversation between Hadley and one of the fey. Sweet and satisfying." —Kirkus Reviews