A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
When the teens travel back to the 1950s, a little history of the development of TV and the early days of the Disney parks.
Trust in your friends, even as you grow up and grow a bit apart. Loyalty and teamwork also are important.
Positive Role Models
Finn doesn't despair when his friends don't believe in him; he perseveres until they do. All the teens use their gifts to help one another. Jess and Amanda deal with jealousy and keep secrets from each other. Jess eventually breaks a promise of secrecy to help her friends.
Violence & Scariness
The teens feel pain even in hologram form when some disguised baddies come after them. They're nearly hit with axes and swords and beaten up. In human form, one boy gets Tased by a robot, and a man is poisoned. A mention of suicide and a family killed in an elevator after a lightning strike.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The book is immersed in Disney everything. The teens work for Disney and go to school at a special Disney school and travel back in time to an earlier version of the parks and spout much information about the history of Disney. Mentions of Disney movies and characters throughout. A few mentions of Converse shoes, Starbucks, Apple watch, Timex, and M&Ms.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Return is the start of a Kingdom Keepers spin-off series called Disney Lands. Kids will need to read the other Kingdom Keepers series to know the main characters, smart teens with different abilities and backgrounds, and know how and why they turn into holograms and run from the bad guys: Disney characters come to life in the Disney parks. (There's no missing the constant branding here, but any kid who's been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World is already immersed.) A few scary things happen while the teens aren't holograms: They watch a man get poisoned, and someone gets Tased. Mostly -- somehow -- they get mildly injured in hologram form. Fights use an ax, swordplay, and fists. Time travel plays a part here, and kids will have fun comparing clothes, expressions, and technology of the 1950s with today.
Is It Any Good?
Readers who haven't caught up on the Kingdom Keepers series will be a bit confused. A crash course in holograms and the badness of the Overtakers would have been welcome. But still, it's a strange leap to someone getting poisoned in the first few pages and Walt's pen needing to be put in a special place. Then the reader is thrown into Finn as a hologram and time travel and a chance that the Overtakers are back -- but why? And how? -- and a whole side story of Amanda and Jess at a special academy stealing files with the narrator barely wondering why they're doing it. Even in a mystery, the clues have to be carefully laid out and the stakes for not solving them explained. And borrowing a plot point -- Walt's pen -- not only from a previous book but from a previous series hardly seems like the start to a fresh new series at all.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.