Review Detail

Kids Fiction 214
Check your cereal for prizes
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Pokey is a very enthusiastic six-year-old living with her grandparents, older brother Mac, and imaginary friend, Colombo. On her brithday, she finds an odd amulet in her cereal. Mac's friend Maisie does as well. When Maisie is escorting Pokey back to her classroom after she delivers Mac's lunch to him (which she has grabbed by mistake), the two get sucked into a cardboard box that is a portal to a magical world where everything is made of cardboard. Mac's friend Bird also finds an amulet, right before Maisie reports that she has lost Pokey. Mac has an encounter with a creepy cardboard woman in his attic, but doesn't get many answers. The boxes only serve as portals if they are kept in good shape, but it's not long before Birdie is sucked into another one (that is cleverly being used as a paper recycling bin!). Finally, Mac, Maisie and Birdie all travel together, only to find themselves on a "Wanted" poster. Things are not okay in the kingdom, but will the three be able to both find Pokey and help the magical world right itself?
Good Points
The larger than usual format of this graphic novel (7.5 x 11 inches) makes it sightly easier to read the words, and the pictures are in full color. Fairgray's illustrations (which might be familiar because of Black Sand Beach as well as his picture books) are distinctive, and the color palette changes logically to a more cardboard colored one in the magical world. There are lots of good details, like untied shoelaces, Maisie's exuberant outfits, and crowded school hallways.

Cardboard seems to be rather a trend in graphic novels, with everything from TenNapel's Cardboard to Sells' Cardboard Kingdom, but it makes sense that this would be a great material to use to construct a magical world! Bonus points for being environmentally more friendly than plastic.

While this first book just sets up the premise for lots more adventures, it's clear that there are more thrills and chills to come. Readers who like fantasy adventure graphic novels like Steinkellner's The Okay Witch, Cooke's Paranorthern and the Chaos Bunny A-Hop-Calypse, Siegel's 5 Worlds, Stevenson's Nimona, and Hicks' The Nameless City will be glad to see the first book in another series of books they can anticipate.
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