This week, Top Shelf Productions releases Order of the Night Jay (Book One): The Forest Beckons. The middle grade graphic novel from the IDW imprint is the debut from cartoonist Jonathan Schnapp. Today The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive preview of the book, which follows a young bear as he tries to make friends at camp – and learns the secrets hidden in the woods.

Here’s how Top Shelf describes Order of the Night Jay (Book One): The Forest Beckons:

Making friends can be hard for a nervous bear, even at summer camp. But Frank’s about to discover a mystery… and the camp needs him to save the day!

Frank is perhaps the most un-bear-like bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. Actually, he’s probably the ONLY bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. And there are tons of bugs, he’s getting picked on, and he can’t seem to earn a single badge! But there’s Ricky, an excitable little raccoon who shares Frank’s love of Mega Bunny comics. But Ricky’s friendship might be more than Frank can handle. After breaking camp rules, getting lost in the woods, and discovering ancient secrets about the long-forgotten Order of the Night Jay, how will Frank explain all this to his dad?

“After reading Order of the Night Jay, I hope that young readers develop an interest and appreciation for nature, and are inspired to learn and explore the world around them,” said Schnapp in describing his hopes for his first graphic novel. “But, I also hope it gets kids thinking about diversity and inclusion. One of the book’s main themes is that everyone has their own experiences and environment (family, school, etc.) that help shape who they are. We can’t just make assumptions based on what we see on the outside. Order of the Night Jay uses different animals as a simple substitution for race, religion, sex, gender, etc.”

Check out the exclusive six-page preview of the book below. The 160-page softcover graphic novel is out in stores today.