Middle Grade Review: Cardboardia: The Other Side of the Box (Lucy Campagnolo)



About This Book:

A group of friends must use their ingenuity to save a parallel world that can only be accessed through cardboard boxes in this series starter from Black Sand Beach author Richard Fairgray and Lucy Campagnolo. Perfect for readers ready to step up from Jelly.

When Mac, Masie, and Bird find mysterious tokens in their cereal boxes, they’re transported to Cardboardia, a magical landmade of paper and cardboard. In this parallel universe to ours, creativity thrives: Every time a box of anything is created in our world, a replica appears there, bringing residents art supplies, food, books, and more.

But an evil presence is slowly moving in, threatening to wipe all art and beauty from this paper paradise. It’s no mistake that the three friends have been transported through their cardboard portals. Each has a special talent they never knew existed. And only when they figure out to harness them together will they be able to stop the destruction.


*Review Contributed by Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*

Check your cereal for prizes
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.

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*