My Thoughts: The Crowded Kingdom is the story of two sisters, Jada and Jinny, who find themselves shrunk to the size of dandelions and immersed in a world of fairies, elves, brownies, and other small folk in New York City. With their two new friends Aress and Kiwi, they embark on a journey to find out how to return to their normal size – and get caught up in a magical war instead.
I bought this book at the Brooklyn Book Festival, where I had a chance to talk to Louella Dizon San Juan herself about the book before committing to buy it. Her enthusiasm for the story, as well as the story’s premise, and the wonderful illustrations she drew to go along with the story, convinced me to buy it, and I am so very glad I did. I have always been interested in stories featuring the “wee folk,” and grew up watching the animated movies Thumbelina and FernGully, so I am no stranger to the idea of a small person doing incredible things, or a human being shrunk down to the same size as a fairy.
Jada and Jinny take these events in greater stride than a lot of characters in other such stories, and although to someone like me it seems a bit disconcerting (I would be freaking out in that situation, I know I would), at the same time you realize how young, innocent, and in general awe of the world they are, and find yourself wishing for those wonderful days of your childhood when you could build a whole story or game around the simplest things. The two sisters also have a great love for each other, even when one annoys the other, and it’s so nice to read about their sisterly bond and see that siblings don’t always have to fight with, mock, out-do, or betray the other, as sometimes seems to be the case in different books I’ve read. Instead, for the entirety of the story, the girls are united in their quest to return to their normal size, their interest in the magical world, and their want to help their newfound friends.
You can read the rest of my review on my blog: http://readerlymusings.com/2013/10/04/book-review-the-crowded-kingdom-by-louella-dizon-san-juan/