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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Awkward, and All's Faire in Middle School, this graphic novel follows a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary cardboard into fantastical homemade costumes as they explore conflicts with friends, family, and their own identity. "A breath of fresh air, this tender and dynamic collection is a must-have." --Kirkus, Starred Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters--and their own inner demons--on one last quest before school starts again. In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be--imagine that! The Cardboard Kingdom was created, organized, and drawn by Chad Sell with writing from ten other authors: Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Molly Muldoon, Vid Alliger, Manuel Betancourt, Michael Cole, Cloud Jacobs, and Barbara…

The Cardboard Kingdom

by Chad Sell

Overall Book Review:

The Cardboard Kingdom is a story about the summer vacation of the kids in a neighborhood. The children spend their days playing in a fantasy world of their own devising, using props made from various materials they find to add to their kingdom, but primarly cardboard. The kingdom and its inhabitants are as rich and diverse as the imaginations of the children who pool their storytelling skills to bring the setting to life.

This book encourages children to get outside and play creatively. It also may inspire all sorts of inventions and building, from forts to costumes to props. That makes this story worth reading to children who are at an age to enjoy such creative and active play. The characters of the story come from all sorts of families, cultures, and personality types, and children should find it easy to identify with one or more of the characters. Young readers will likely warm up to these characters as even the shyest of the characters learns to be friends with the others. This book is a light-hearted story of laid-back fun, and the colorful and plentiful illustrations make it a quick and easy read to inspire confidence in young middle grade readers.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Report of someone having their stomach pumped after accidental poisoning; character is mildly injured by a toy weapon; several instances of imaginary violence; characters shoot each other with water guns and fight with toy weapons a few times; a boy threatens to beat up another boy; an adult breaks a child’s toy in a fit of anger; a few instances of minor property damage; a character pushes another down.

Sex/Nudity:  A boy who is playing a girl’s role in a play doesn’t want another boy to carry him; characters joke about two boys kissing (but they do not do so);  transgenderism is obliquely mentioned, as a parent tells a boy who likes dressing as a girl character that “it’s okay” if he has something he’d like to tell her.

Mature Subject Matter:

Bullying; domestic strife.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.