Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bringing Home the Magic: Kingdom Keepers

Hi everyone!  I apologize for the long break between posts, but I'm back, with an all new Bringing Home the Magic.  Today, I'm going to review Kingdom Keepers, a book series by Ridley Pearson.  The books are about a group of five teenagers as they go through the daily troubles of school, first crushes, and bullies.  Oh, and at night they get transported into the Walt Disney World theme parks as holograms who have to battle some of the fiercest Disney villians ever created.  Did that get your attention back?  Good.

Finn Whitman is your typical middle schooler, dealing with homework, bullies, uncool parents and other typical childhood woes.  Finn also recently modeled to become a DHI, or Disney Host Interactive, which is a holographic tour guide that takes guests through the parks.  One night, Finn has a dream.  He wakes up in the Magic Kingdom, well after closing time, and meets an old man named Wayne.  Wayne tells him the true purpose of the DHIs.  All of the classic Disney characters we love, Mickey, Minnie, etc., actually live in the theme parks.  But, so do the Disney villians, including Maleficent, who plans to make the Magic Kingdom a dark, sinister place. So begin Finn's adventures with the Kingdom Keepers....

Book one in the Kingdom Keepers series, Disney After Dark (photo credit:

The Kingdom Keepers books are written with a young audience in mind, making the books perfect for preteens and young teenagers.  The books show some progression in reading levels as one begins reading the later books.  Pearson has been writing the books for over five years, and his writing seems to be meant to evolve with his audience.  Books four and five especially show evidence of this, and are clearly meant for a 13-14 set, versus the 10-12 set that the previous books were aimed at. 

Even though the books are meant for a preteen audience, anyone who has been to Walt Disney World can enjoy these books.  The childen travel on many famous Disney attractions that come to life, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and it's a small world.  Additionally, many of the famous Disney characters are featured in the books.  Some, like Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Ariel are friends of the Kingdom Keepers.  Others, including many of Disney's most infamous villians, are part of the sinister Overtakers, out to destroy not only the Kingdom Keepers, but the very magic of Walt Disney World itself.

One of the most fascinating things about the Kingdom Keepers novels, especially for adults, is the number of behind the scenes details Pearson puts into the books.  Pearson worked closely with Imagineers at Walt Disney World to ensure that these details were as accurate as possible.  Even as a huge Disney fan myself who has been to the parks over 30 times, I learned several things from these novels.  That alone could keep me reading, but I also found the story itself compelling, even if it was a little simple for my tastes.

Generally, each book is set mainly in one park, with the most recent book sending the Keepers outside of Walt Disney World on the Disney Dream.  So far, there have been five Kingdom Keepers books, and Ridley Pearson has announced that two more will be coming out.  Pearson has also stated that book six will be set on the Disney Dream once again but that for book seven there will be a "change in zipcodes."  Could this mean that the Keepers will finally fight the Overtakers in Disneyland?  Only time will tell....

Could this be the stage for the Keepers' final battle against the Overtakers?

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