Candy Kingdom the Bored Game

Lawley. (Candy Kingdom: Bk. 1). Feb. 2021. 108p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781952209185.
Gr 2-6–Siblings Ellie and Zeb, both white, stay with their Grandma Gretchen for what they fear will be the most boring two days of their lives. Grandpa Ron, the fun grandparent, recently died, leaving a homemade board game the two kids discover in a closet. Grandma has warned them to leave it alone, but in her absence, they open it and are sucked into the Candy Kingdom for a perilous adventure. Griffith’s debut contains both color and black-and-white pencil drawings, which draw readers into the candy-themed fantasy world and its whimsical characters. There are clever solutions proposed in lieu of violence in a war with the Marshmallow Pips; in sad contrast, the reason the children are left alone is because Grandma’s cat, Mr. Grumpy Pants has been hit by a car (spoiler: He lives, but younger readers may be distressed). Though the characters and action are original, the idea of falling into a game is not (Jumanji); nor is confrontation between candy friends and foes (“Hansel and Gretel,” The Nutcracker and the Four Realms). This attempt is similar to Mary Pope Osborne’s “Magic Tree House” series, though it isn’t anchored in periods of history for educational value. Complex vocabulary throughout will challenge early readers, but the adventure itself is light and sweet.
VERDICT Purchase where readers voraciously devour similar adventure series.

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