Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G., 194 pp, RL 3

Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom 
Review Copy from First Second
Story: "Floating somewhere among the stars is a flat little world where dreams come true. Where did it come from? What awaits in its future? Why is the sun a giant smiley face?" The name of that world is Dreamside and it is one deliciously developed world, populated with colorfully cute rabbits in a range of colors (for the most part) who like to shift the dominant paradigm from time to time. In this first book in what will be a four book series by the end of this year, we meet Cucumber, also known as Cuco, living in the Doughnut Kingdom, one of the seven kingdoms of Dreamside. As he is about to head off to Puffington's Academy for the Magically Gifted, an opportunity he has studied long and hard for, a letter from his father telling him that he is the only one who can stop the evil Queen Cordelia who has taken over Caketown Castle on her path to WORLD DOMINATION! And Cuco's little sister Almond is much better suited to go on a quest and stop the queen anyway. Unfortunately, the Dream Oracle refuses to accept a little sister as a "legendary hero," and sends Cucumber to find the Dream Sword. When wielded by the Legendary Hero, this sword can defeat the Nightmare Night, an evil force that has can only be summoned when all eight Disaster Stones are gathered. As Cucumber and Almond cross the food-themed kingdom (Tiramisu Tower, the town of Saltine) and encounter rabbits like Sir Tomato, Dame Lettuce and Sir Bacon, they make their way toward the end of their quest which, of course, will take them to the other kingdoms in Dreamland. 
Illustrations: Gigi D.G.'s illustrations, this series started as a webcomic created entirely with Photoshop, are brightly colored and adorable and just a bit menacing when they need to be. Of course I LOVE the food theme of the whole series and the completely thorough worldbuilding that Gigi D.G. has done, including trading card-like character bios and tons of extras in the back matter like Q+As with the characters, concept art and a map.

Why Read? Why Buy?: Read and buy because this series is SO fun and, despite the colorfully sweet illustrations, it is smart and funny and will make readers think while being totally entertained.


 Cucumber Quest 2 - 4
 

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