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The Cardboard Kingdom

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  479 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters--and their own inner demons--on one last quest before school starts again.

In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be--imagine that!
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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The other day I listened to a very interesting speaker as she defined in crystal clear terms the words “equality” and “equity”. Simply put, “equality” is leveling the playing field and “equity” is getting the same end results. And, as with all things, I turn to the world of children’s literature to see how this applies to the books we’re handing kids. We’re seeing a small increase in the number of books for children that feature groups that have been historically pushed to the side and/or ignore ...more
This book just about made me cry! This is such a sweet, entertaining story that so many kids will enjoy - and the message of inclusiveness and being yourself is well-developed and age-appropriate without being preachy. A lot of fun!
Okay, so I’ve been a fan of Chad Sell’s art for quite some time now, as I think most drag fans online probably are! And because I’m a fan of his art, and because I love to support queer artists whenever and however I can, I signed up to support Chad on Patreon towards the end of 2017, which has been one fantastic investment! I genuinely look forward every month to getting that envelope in the mail with my postcard sketches and prints, and even just interacting with Chad when I make my monthly cu ...more
Julie Kirchner
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked that the content of this graphic novel could be enjoyed by younger readers, however, I’m not sure they would necessarily understand all that is going on in the story. So many inferences they would need to make! I enjoyed the book and the creativity it could bring out in kids who read it. I know our house has fun whenever there are good cardboard boxes sitting around!
Mary Lee
This book celebrates imagination in a series of short graphic stories, some wordless, some not. It's fun to see the children's play change and develop. It will be fascinating to talk with readers about not just the children in the book, but also the adults.
Abby Johnson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a creative and fun collection of graphic stories! This book is an ode to summer, imaginative play in a diverse neighborhood and the power of kids to build a world all their own. Fun, funny, and occasionally touching, I want to hand this to every kid.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a joy to read! I love how these characters are fleshed out chapter by chapter. The storytelling is sweet and heartbreaking and innocent. A grand slam for all ages!
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was lucky to get this as an ARC and will be happy to place it in my libraries. This is a great graphic novel for younger kids that celebrates the imagination while addressing issues important to younger reader such as bullies, making friends and disagreements. It also touches on more difficult subjects like gender identity with a deft hand and normalizes lifestyles to which some kids may not have been exposed. The imagination of these you characters and the whimsical illustrations make this a ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it so much!!! It captured the joy of summer break and neighborhood friends and playing pretend and was utterly delightful and poignant.
Kristen Thorp
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So. Damn. Great.
Niki Marion
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So lovely and pure and good! Looking more into the artists & writers collaborators--but this is a gem of a graphic novel about a neighborhood of kids with serious imaginations, crafting skilllzzzz, and the gift of active, dynamic supportiveness, one that they give to each other many times over.
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good. Each chapter stands alone as featuring one kid in the neighborhood and how they pick/develop the character they use in the collaborative/imaginative playspace of their backyards. Each kid is an individual and the story as a whole gently introduces a variety of family situations, pushes back on gender/identity issues, and is diverse and representative. I really liked it.
Emma Andje
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cardboard Kingdom is Phineas and Ferb meets Lumberjanes! This super diverse graphic novel tackles several issues grappling modern children including gender identity and bullying, and will inspire a plethora of extravagant summer adventures.

I was given an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Katie Lawrence
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In these short episodes Chad Sell and his collaborators create a wonderful neighborhood full of kids who use their imaginations & a lot of cardboard to bond and tackle any issue life throws their way. The kids of Cardboard Kingdom are dealing with younger siblings, bullies, struggles to make friends, budding crushes, competition versus teamwork, adult perceptions on behavior, gender roles/stereotypes, difficulties with imagination and parents separating. I loved that the young heroes dealt w ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On one level, this book is a fun romp through a neighborhood of diverse kids from different families who connect and bond over the simplest of things: cardboard and their imaginations. They create their own alter egos -- banshees and sorceresses and mantises and animal queens -- and spend their summer adventuring together, their time enhanced by the incredible costumes and playscapes they craft out of cardboard. The book's art and themes relating to fantasy and D&D are what initially drew in ...more
Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland
The Cardboard Kingdom is an imaginative story. The stories of the children’s adventures sparked nostalgia for my own childhood when I would go on imaginative adventures with my friends. I could also relate to the older siblings and their sibling dynamics. I remember having to take care of my younger brother!

While it can be hard to track all the characters, each story only focuses on one or two of the characters at a time. This lets the reader ease into the world. That said, this is a read that w
Ms. Yingling
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
ARC provided by publisher at ALA

In an ordinary suburban neighborhood, a group of multicultural children spend their free time creating characters that inhabit the titular "cardboard kingdom". There are battling sorceresses, monsters, and dragons. There are also some realistic problems that include babysitting an active younger brother, dealing with a grandmother who doesn't believe girls should be loud, and parents who are divorcing. There is also a neighborhood bully who bedevils the children,
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved pretty much everything about this, the art, the imagination theme, the different representation, not only of race and orientation, but also of home life, married parents, divorced parents, single parents, grandparents. As much as it was about kids playing make-believe it was also about families and finding ways to acceptance. A really strong message cleverly hidden in a fun and goofy story of kids playing a game as old as time. Highly, highly recommend.
Christina Hanson
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
What happens when the Sorceress, the Huntress, the Big Banshee, the Alchemist, the Blacksmith, the Prince, the Animal Queen, the Blob, Professor Everything, the Gargoyle, the Mad Scientist, the Robot, the Bully, a minion, plus Alice and Becky team up? The Cardboard Kingdom, of course! You’d be amazed what some cardboard boxes and a little imagination can create. This newly released graphic novel follows the summer of sixteen neighbor kids and their quest to find adventure! I not only loved the b ...more
Abby Brithinee
I loved this book! It features sixteen vignettes about all the children who live on one block. With a whole lot of cardboard and even more imagination, they spend a summer having adventures and defeating their demons.

The art is bright, expressive, and exuberant. Each vignette builds on the last, and the reader gets a glimpse into each character's life. While I wish there was just more background and character building (maybe fewer characters), this book packs a whole lot of summer into a single
This was fun! I'm super impressed how seamlessly Sell and the other authors wove together diverse characters with diverse backgrounds perfectly into this setting (a neighborhood street where all the kids play together over the course of a summer). It was no big deal in the best way possible and gives me hope that other authors (graphic novel and otherwise) sit up and take notice.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this! Brought back all my memories of neighborhood playing as a kid, and so amazing to see all of the imagination come to life in this book. Great characters, illustrations, colors, and deeper themes like bullying and inclusiveness.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Any kid that gets their hands on this bold, imaginative graphic novel is probably a kid who also has access to some sort of cardboard box.

And so, their own cardboard kingdom can begin...

The fact that this book isn’t just for rich kids, or white kids, or boys... it’s for EVERYONE. All you need is a cardboard box and a big imagination.
I love this comic so much I don't even know what to say. It has an incredibly diverse cast and the stories are beautifully honest (sometimes emotional). There's someone for almost any kid reader to connect with in that neighborhood. This should be in ALL libraries.
Gillian Dawson
Such a delightful book!
Tonya Shaw
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun graphic novel with multiple little stories woven into one.
Leonard Kim
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Objectively maybe 4-4.5 stars, but this gets the bump, because 1) the emotions are 5 stars, and 2) so many collaborative projects don’t live up to hopes, but this, this is how you do it.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm ashamed to admit that I've been avoiding reading this, but damn if this book didn't deliver.

Where imagination and friendship rule, "Cardboard Kingdom" invites readers to experience each kids' troubles, adding heart to an otherwise light book.
This is wonderful, and I loved that it's full of all the real difficult stuff kids go through while still being mostly about imaginative play.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
From the colors to the diversity, that was just delightful.
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