To adults, the Nissan Sunny 1200 may look like a broken-down old car in front of a Japanese home for orphans. To the children and teens of the orphanage, though, the Sunny is a clubhouse, a spaceship, a getaway vehicle, and one of the few places that is truly theirs after they are abandoned by their parents. Readers catch glimpses of each of the orphans’ lives, both the imaginary adventures they devise while in the Sunny and the sometimes heartbreaking ones outside of it. Matsumoto is probably best known for his Eisner Award–winning title, Tekkon Kinkreet (2007), about orphan street kids trying to protect their town from invading Yakuza. He returns to those themes in this latest work and combines evocative art and concise dialogue to tell the melancholy story of the kids and teens who use the Sunny to escape their problematic home lives. This title would appeal to fans of atmospheric titles such as Benjamin’s Orange (2009) and Yuki Obata’s We Were There (2013). Grades 9-12. --Candice Mack
About the Author
One of the most influential and innovative manga artists currently working in Japan, Taiyo Matsumoto is best known to English-reading audiences as the creator of GoGo Monster, Number Five, and Tekkonkinkreet, which was made into a critically acclaimed animated film of the same name. In 2007, Matsumoto was awarded a Japan Media Arts Festival Award for Excellence, and in 2008, he won the prestigious Eisner Award for the English publication of Tekkonkinkreet.