Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reading the Kingdom Keepers Series

Over the past year my daughter and I have been reading the Kingdom Keepers book series by Ridley Pearson.  They are a great way to keep the Disney feeling alive.  Generally, the books are about a group of 5 Orlando area students who get into hijinks defending Disney property and the feeling of Disney goodwill from evil.  Each student takes a job as a hologram tour guide at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Then a phenomenon occurs where each student "crosses over" as their hologram while the real student sleeps and they come to meet, know each other and depend on each other's strengths and talents to defeat evil.  They meet a man who organizes them and gives them assignments to defend Disney.

The books take place in the various Disney parks in Orlando, then move over to Downtown Disney, the Disney electrical plant, the water parks, a cruise ship and Castaway Cay and I think, but I haven't gotten there yet, Disneyland Resort.  Along the way, you get to meet Disney characters you thought you knew well and get to know them in a different way.  Be forewarned, if your child is a Stitch fan like mine is, he'll be disappointed to learn that Stitch is on the evil side.  Boo hiss!  That said, while you get to know characters in a  new way, you also get a different view of the parks, their underbelly and how things work.

My child happens to be very analytical and would ask how things were possible as described in the books.  You have to be able to suspend belief to enjoy the series.  If you or your child is too literal, you're not going to enjoy these books as much.  It's not so far fetched, like Harry Potter, where you know this is just fantasy.  There are too many real possibilities that when you have holograms feeling pain, you have to learn to suspend belief and accept it to move on.  That said, I really enjoy the books.  I like learning about the history of the parks, how garbage is taken out, how rides are constructed, which are all included in the story in a seamless way.  Background information is well done.

Mr. Pearson has employed a continuity researcher who sometimes fails.  My kid picks up on continuity errors.  I tell her to move on. It's a mistake.  We all make them.  The errors don't affect the story.  I can't imagine having to keep all the previous facts straight.  There are a ton since these books are packed with character development, history, logistics and outright fantasy.

My daughter is ten.  These books are perfect for her age, both boys and girls.  They have her interested because they're based on a subject she likes, Disney.  They are well written, using strong vocabulary and conversation that makes sense to her.  There is a little romance, but nothing more than a quick kiss.  There is absolutely no swearing, political or religious agenda.  They consist of classic good versus evil struggles with technology thrown in which is pretty cool.  They are enjoyable as a daily read or as a book on disc in the car, although the narrator's girl voice sounds like a Valley Girl from the 1980s.  When one book ends, my daughter and I are intrigued enough to take the next one out of the library.  They are meant for a skilled reader at a 4th grade reading level who has enough stamina to read about 500 pages.  But best of all, it keeps the reader Living Disneyfied.

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