An all-ages graphic novel by Eric Colossal, Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef, follows the exploits of young adventurer Rutabaga. Not to be confused with the vegetable (which is a bit like a turnip), Rutabaga is a chef in search of rare and magical foods to spice up his culinary delights. In the first scene we see him crossing rivers and going through brushes and spotting a sword in a clearing. It is obvious this is a magical sword, what with the jewels in it’s pommel and the fact that the blade is stuck in a large stone just begging for someone to pull the sword free and start killing dragons with it. Rutabaga approaches and very gently removes the mushrooms growing on the cross-guard of the sword’s hilt. The mushroom only grows on legendary artifacts. Soon, he meets warriors in search of the sword itself who plan to use it to defeat a dragon. Rutabaga joins their team (they need a cook, after all) and a friendship soon grows.
The book is funny and cute, with adorable artwork. There’s even a few recipes at the back, and I am very eager to try them. The cast is very diverse, being almost entirely people of color (including the king); and the lead warrior Winn is a young woman of color, which makes my heart happy. (The little girl in me who loved She-Ra is always excited by stories with women brandishing swords.) The adventures of Rutabaga continue in Book 2: The Feasts of Fury and I couldn’t be more excited to read it as well.
I read this for the September meeting of Page Turners Book Club, whose theme was Food and Cooking.
Review by Jessica A.