The Other Side of the Box

Pixel+Ink. (Cardboardia: Bk. 1). Sept. 2021. 112p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9781645950400; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781645950998.
Gr 3-6–After discovering mysterious tokens, four young people find themselves pulled into a parallel world made of cardboard. The only way for Pokey, Mac, Masie, and Bird to enter this world is through a cardboard box, such as a paper recycling bin. Once there, they discover a creative mecca. But this world is threatened by the Grey Queen, and soon it is revealed that these youth were selected because of the magical gifts that they can harness together to save the kingdom of Cardboardia. The youth and their corresponding families are diverse racially and economically, with different family dynamics. The art is sketchy, featuring big-eyed characters. Fairgray uses different types of panels, with a colorful palette that changes between the worlds. Told in shifting perspectives, the story has an overly complicated beginning and ends in a cliff-hanger; still, readers who love tales of magical worlds will enjoy it.
VERDICT This start to a new series will resonate with readers seeking fanciful stories that incorporate friendship, creativity, and problem-solving.

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