Kingdom Keepers: Inheritance

Disney-Hyperion. (Kingdom Keepers: Bk. 1). Mar. 2022. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484785577.
Gr 3-7–When Eli is celebrating his 13th birthday in the CommuniTree, surrounding the Walt Disney World theme park, something odd happens. He plays a game with a hologram of Jafar, the main antagonist of Disney’s 1992 animated feature film Aladdin. However, the hologram comes to life and tries to attack Eli. Thus begins an exciting story of Eli and his friends fighting against Disney villains, and a secret the children’s parents have kept for years begins to emerge. For readers unfamiliar with Disney characters (especially villains), the book might not resonate. While the title holds appeal for fans of Disney and sci-fi, it is fraught with gender stereotypes and racism. A boy who dyes his hair is called “a girl,” and a man with long fingernails is considered “girly.” The author also describes the smell of curried popcorn as “awful,” and something so disgusting that the child will not eat even if she is famished. These sentiments are not challenged within the narrative.
VERDICT A Disney-infused sci-fi adventure marred by out-of-place and outdated commentary that renders the book ideologically problematic and harmful for young readers; not recommended.

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