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The first book of the Cardboard Kingdom series (aptly titled "The Cardboard Kingdom") was a delightful read -- an ode to the power of imagination, friendship, and being yourself. It was more of a collection of interlocking vignettes than a cohesive story, but it was still a great deal of fun and great for both the young and the young at heart. "Roar of the Beast," the sequel, has an actual story arc, but still interconnects the stories of the kids in this neighborhood and their alter-egos... and how the bonds of friendship see them through a difficult time.
When Vijay, a.k.a. The Beast, suffers blows to both body and ego during an altercation with the neighborhood bullies, he gives up his alter-ego and sinks into a funk. But his friends' efforts to try to cheer him up are interrupted by the appearance of a terrible monster! And when Nate, a.k.a. The Prince, breaks his leg trying to identify it, the neighborhood kids are determined to discover just what it is. What is this creature? Who created it? Why is Alice, proprietor of the Dragon's Head tavern (run out of her garage) acting so secretive? And will the monster ruin Halloween... and the friendships of the neighborhood kids?
Just like the first book, the artwork in this book is nicely stylized and colorful, with great designs of both the kids' cardboard costumes and their alter-egos. The color scheme is slightly altered from the first book, which helps show the passing of time and changing of the seasons -- the first book took place mainly in summer, while the second book takes place during autumn, meaning warmer colors and more earth tones. The panel layout is easy to follow, and the book makes nice use of splash pages and dialogue-free panels to help convey the story through pictures as well as words.
It's also nice to see the kids from the first book grow and develop further in this book. And amazingly, almost every character from the first book gets their moment to shine in this book, and sees moments of growth. Some only get a few pages, such as the Robot and the Banshee, but they still have their moments to shine and to show their personalities. Hopefully they'll get a little more focus in the third book... and I do hope there's a third book.
The Cardboard Kingdom books are great for kids of all ages, even ones who think they've outgrown the world of imagination and playing with cardboard boxes. And it's great to revisit these characters and see how they've grown. Crossing my fingers for a third volume!
Your Imagination + Cardboard = The Construction of Fun! Publisher’s Blurb:
A mystery is afoot in the Cardboard Kingdom.
Vijay, the Beast, renounces his title after being bullied by neighborhood teenagers. No one–not his big sister Shikha or his friends–can seem to draw him back out of his shell.
That very night is when it starts. At first, no one believes Nate, who breaks his leg trying to pursue what he saw from his bedroom window. But then there’s another, and another. An unknown monster has been spotted roaming the Kingdom after dark. It’s ghastly, it’s quick, and it might even have giant tentacles. Or claws. Or wings. Okay, there might be some varied testimonies on what exactly this monster looks like.
Forget Halloween–the newly minted Monster Mashers will go to any lengths to protect the Kingdom and uncover this mystery. But how did the monster get here? What does it want? And mostly importantly, who is behind its creation?
I had an absolute blast reading and reviewing the Chad Sell’s first Cardboard Kingdom graphic novel… And when I saw that the author/ illustrator created Roar of the Beast, I knew I had to check it out.
I was not disappointed: All the characters are back from the first book… and conflicts arise as they ramp up for Halloween. Each has a particular vision of how they want this special holiday to go… Yet, things get in the way… bullies and… a monster?
The artwork, the diversity of the characters, and the individually-crafted storylines create a perfect sequel!
Chad Sell’s Website: Click through to find coloring pages inspired by the series… and instructions to make the Cardboard Kingdom’s masks! I already downloaded a couple designs to work on with my own kids. Also of note: while writing this review I took a minute to write a friend an email about this book. I love this series!
Roar of the Beast is Book Two in the graphic novel series, The Cardboard Kingdom. All of the kids are back and they're planning their Halloween costumes when a mysterious monster appears in the neighborhood. Nate believes that he saw the monster but everyone is convinced that he was just having a bad dream. When the monster is spotted again the Science Squad is on it, looking for clues and setting traps. But there is more than one mystery going on in the neighborhood and secrets abound. After his costume is damaged while being bullied by The Teens, Vijay has withdrawn into himself and not even his sister, one of the Bravest Warriors in the Land, can draw him out. Miguel has been put in an awkward situation by Elijah, and what is Alice up to with her suddenly secretive ways?
Everyone knows that sometimes it’s fun to be scared - a little; but, as tensions mount and fears rise Halloween is forced to take a back seat to more serious concerns. If the kids of the Kingdom are going to have any fun this Halloween they’ll have to find a way to work together in order to solve the greatest mystery of their time.
Once again Sell and his collaborators have created an exciting book featuring an abundance of diversity and inclusion. This original, imaginative and beautifully illustrated graphic novel is a must for children ages 8- 15. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I read this both in hardcopy and as an ebook. Although the #ebook format does work, I recommend the hardcopy or paperback for a more enjoyable reading experience.
When Vijay gives up his title, the Beast, it’s due to the teenager bullies of the neighborhood he withdraws into himself. His sister and friends can’t get him to respond to them. That same night Nate breaks his leg to chase after a monster he saw. No one believes him. Then others see the monster. The unknown monster is roaming in the cardboard kingdom when it gets dark. The monster is horrible looking with claws or wings or tentacles? The individual sees different things when looking at the monster. What is this monster? Even though Halloween is soon, the kids become monster mashers. They will go to any length to save the kingdom and get the monster. Why is there a monster? How did it get there? And did someone create the monster? If so, who?
The author or authors writes about the difficulties of little kid becoming big kid. The transition also causes them to question internally. It’s never easy transiting from little to big to teenager to adult. Hopefully this will help those kids who read this know that they aren’t the only ones to wonder about growing up.