A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beyond the Kingdoms, Chris Colfer's latest installment in the Land of Stories series, continues the barrage of unlikely elements -- fairy tales, wisecracks, magic, pop culture, slapstick, gross-out, violence, low-level innuendo, teen romance, and facile platitudes -- concocted to keep the pages turning right up to the edge of the next cliff. With appealing 14-year-old twin protagonists trying to do their best to do the right thing and save a world, befriending a raft of fairy-tale and book characters along the way, Colfer has a successful formula -- and isn't afraid to use it. Expect grotesque descriptions of witches' rotting body parts, hanging eyeballs, and so on. Characters, including children, are kidnapped and imprisoned; some of them have their life force drained away by a witch and die. Villainous characters hit one another. Two teens kiss. Hard-drinking Mother Goose gets sloshed with Merlin.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Following the events of Book 3, things aren't looking good for the Land of Stories: A sinister character who looks just like Alex and Conner's late father is determined to destroy the kingdoms and kill or imprison their residents. He's so determined that he's using a potion to go into assorted books -- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Robin Hood -- and recruit their evil forces to his cause. Right behind him, the 14-year-old twins and their friends also enlist assistance as they take their quest BEYOND THE KINGDOMS -- but will they be too late?
Is it any good?
Revelations, evil villains, wisecracks, and resourceful young heroes return in an onslaught of disparate elements that may not quite gel, but you'll be too busy flipping pages to notice. Mother Goose drinks like a fish, teens in love ponder self-sacrifice, innocents suffer, and worlds collide as over-the-top villainy threatens the fairy-tale world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about the idea of taking characters from one story and putting them in another. Have you seen this done in other books? Do you think this is an interesting technique, or is the author being lazy to use existing characters?
Do you believe in destiny, especially as something you're obliged to follow? How do you see this notion in play in your daily life?
Do you believe fairy tales are supposed to teach moral lessons or just be good stories?
- Author: Chris Colfer
- Illustrator: Brandon Dorman
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Pirates
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: July 7, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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