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The Cardboard Kingdom

Review

The Cardboard Kingdom

In a small neighborhood, a young boy and his little sister assume the roles of the sorceress and her minion to pretend they’ve captured a princess and are slowly lowering her into a pit with a kraken. Just over the fence, though, is their neighbor, a little girl who sees the boy dressed in his mom’s robes lowering a stuffed animal into a kiddie pool while waving a stick around like a magic staff. In his embarrassment and shame, the boy stumbles into the kiddie pool and then rushes off inside. But lucky for this boy he has his little sister as a minion to help the sorceress come back to life and invite their new friend, the girl from next door, to join in on the fun! Because what’s the use of an evil villain like the sorceress without a courageous knight to try to stop them?

"From the moment you open THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM your eyes will thank you. The art and design work of Chad Sell is immediately eye-catching and absorbing....This book should be put into each and every child’s hands."

And that is the opening to THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM! A brilliant story of friendship, inclusion and most of all, unbridled imagination, THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM tells the stories of all the children of a neighborhood, and their own individual home lives. Each child takes on a persona in the neighborhood that helps them cope with their own personal journeys. One child copes with his parents’ painful divorce. Another learns that it’s okay for her to be loud because that’s who she is. These and many other lives are looked at and explored over the course of the summer in THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM.

From the moment you open THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM your eyes will thank you. The art and design work of Chad Sell is immediately eye-catching and absorbing, a trait that continues throughout the book. Even the cover jacket, the hardcover under the jacket and the inside covers are all brilliantly laid out and absolutely engrossing. A story about a group of summertime friends and adventures is one that everyone can always get behind, and this one is no exception to the rule, but it certainly stands out from the rest for me. THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM is one of the most well-written, well-drawn and emotionally moving books any person could read. This book should be put into each and every child’s hands.

Chad Sell’s art and eye for detail to his contributing writers’ stories (because the entirety of the book was written by several authors and drawn by Sell) shows a perfect understanding of not only a pitch-perfect summertime read for any kid, but one that will teach children as it enthralls them. Upon finishing this book I was inspired to build my own cardboard knight gear and start questing for the lost dragon head of the Dragonshead Inn! (And I suspect your child will feel the same way.)

For a real nice important fun fact, the whole first chapter is told through pantomime. That means no words, only pictures. You want to hook kids into a good book? Open the comic art without words and let the art lead them in until it’s too late to turn back.  This book deserves every ounce of praise it is going to receive and tons more.

Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge on June 27, 2018

The Cardboard Kingdom
by Chad Sell