Saturday, June 09, 2018

Cardboard Kingdom

30623090Sell, Chad and various authors. Cardboard Kingdom
June 5th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
ARC provided by publisher at ALA

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.
Strengths: This was a brightly colored graphic novel with few words and a fun story. It will circulate all of the time. This was better than most graphic novels, and hits lots of social hot buttons. 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 mere fact that children are able to play outside in a neighborhood with houses indicates a certain level of comfort to me.)
Weaknesses: The lack of words in some sections made parts of this a bit hard to follow. It was also rather heavy on moral messages.
What I really think: Honestly? In the end, I will pay $18 for a prebind of this that will last no more than two years. I know that many teachers get really excited about graphic novels because they think they help kids get into reading. If I were sure about this, I would love them too. I'm just not convinced.

36374386Owen, Erich. Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force
May 15th 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

This is based off of a video game, involves children with powers saving the world, and has a snarky tone. ("Man, this idyllic neighborhood is such a drag. I'm cursed to live my life in a peaceful town free of any serious conflict.") Children will love it, and I did appreciate the discussion at the back of the book about whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables (In 1893, the supreme court decided that for trade purposes, it was a vegetable because of the way it is used!), but this came down more on the Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy side of the graphic novel continuum rather than on the Phoebe and Her Unicorn side. Not as many jokes for adults as Phoebe has.
Ms. Yingling

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