Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0

Perfect Graphic Novel for Summer

In an ordinary suburban neighborhood, a group of multicultural children spend their free time creating characters that inhabit the titular "cardboard kingdom". There are battling sorceresses, monsters, and dragons. There are also some realistic problems that include babysitting an active younger brother, dealing with a grandmother who doesn't believe girls should be loud, and parents who are divorcing. There is also a neighborhood bully who bedevils the children, but only because his own life is dysfunctional. Through a series of short comic stories, we learn more about each of the children, their family situations, and the imaginary world that they create that helps bring them together.

Good Points
This was a brightly colored graphic novel with few words and a fun story. Since many young children are in summer camps or programs over the summer and after school, it's fun to read about children who are allowed to roam around neighborhoods, interacting with other children. This was better than most graphic novels, and had a lot of thought provoking content. It was good to see children amusing themselves and being imaginative, and to see families that were doing well but weren't necessarily affluent.

The lack of words in some sections made parts of this a bit hard to follow for me, but avid graphic novel readers will find it easy to draw meaning out of the illustrations and not have to bother with words. This also hits a lot of current social issue topics in a way that is accessible for children.

Readers who like graphic novels with a compelling story line, such as Holm's Sunny Side Up, Jamieson's Roller Girl of Yang's Secret Coders will enjoy this romp, and may even be inspired to create their own cardboard kingdom.

This would make a great gift for a graphic novel fan, especially if there are long car trips planned for the summer. I can see this being pored over many times over the summer!
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