Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Crowded Kingdom by Louella Dizon San Juan (Children's, 9 years +, 8/10E)

Themes: fairies, magic, being shrunk, good and evil, hunting for answers, Central park, shoe shops, cool modes of transport
Content: Some scary moments, a few laughs,

Summary from The Crowded Kingdom Website 
 What if you woke up in Central Park as someone so tiny that you discover a fairy kingdom in New York City? The Crowded Kingdom is the story of two sisters, Jada and Jinny, who find themselves shrunk to the size of dandelions and discover a world of fairies, elves, and other small folk in New York City. Along with several elf friends and a rebellious purple fairy, the girls embark on a journey to find out how to return to their normal size – and get caught up in a magical war instead. Will the curious girls ever find a way back to their families, or will they be forever trapped in this wondrous world?

Nayuleska's thoughts
What I love about this story is how Jada and Jinny don't stay tiny for the entire book, which can make a change from some stories where characters only go back to their normal size at the end. There are things that Jana and Jinny can do only when they are small, and only when they are big. I enjoyed their wonder when they first encounter being small, which is fun but also rather dangerous. I felt the names for the different clans were rather clever, as were the ways magic is used around the sisters who discover they have special powers. Additionally the illustrations, which are often in colour (in a pencil style) bring an extra element to the story, as most illustrations I see in similar books are black and white. I'm a visual reader, and the drawings made the enemies that bit scarier for me - that is both and unpleasant at the same time!

There were a few parts in the story where there was odd inconsistency in the grammar and the story itself (it felt like words were missing) but I can't quite remember if this was an advanced reader copy, which is why I mention it. There was an instance where characters were muddled up (I had to read it a few times to make sure it wasn't my fatigue muddling it up), which isn't a huge deal (especially if its an ARC) but it did break up my flow and disrupt my enjoyment a little. Overall though, the fun magic and wonder of Jinny & Jana's world makes this a charming read.

Find out more on the dedicated website.

Suggested read
Other stories involving fairies and characters shrinking is the somewhat legendary (in my eyes) R J
Anderson's series which starts with Knife (Children's, 11 years +, 10E/10E)

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