2 out of 4 stars
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The Kingdom of Ing is a happy land where fairies soar and play, and dragons and humans coexist in harmony. King Alexander and Queen Arabella kindly and devotedly tend to their subjects and perform their royal duties. But at night, Queen Arabella sighs and cries, for while she hopes and prays, the years pass without bringing a baby to the royal family. What is to be done? In The Magical Kingdom of Ing: An Enchanting Tale of Fairies and Dragons by Susan Brougher, the fairies are called in to help save the day in this sweet story about adoption.
My favorite aspect of this book was undoubtedly the illustrations. The pictures were beautiful, with colorful scenes that will draw in young fairytale-loving children. I also adored the message the book sent, as it introduced the concepts of adoption and orphans to a young audience. I really loved that it was the king and queen who were adopting, emphasizing that family is about more than just bloodlines, even royal ones.
As much as I loved the idea of this story, I did feel that the execution fell a bit flat for me. The story was told in verse, with a concentration on words ending in -ing to go along with the name of the kingdom. However, some of the stanzas rhymed well, and some did not rhyme at all, which I found a bit disorienting. I’m not sure if the Kindle version is laid out differently from the physical book and if that was the source of the problem, but it seemed that natural breaks in the rhythm were not distinguished by line breaks or punctuation. An example of one verse is:
“The dragons believing that a prince or a princess
they’d soon be needing sent whispers wide-
spreading into the forest and over the mountains
sprinkling on fairies skipping and playing.” (p. 14)
My other issue with the writing style is that some of the words and phrasing seem very advanced, and combined with the somewhat awkward rhythm of the story, it might be hard for young children to follow. Because of this, I’m having a hard time nailing down the best age range for this book. I think the pictures and the fairytale premise lend themselves toward a preschool audience, but the vocabulary and verse structure used would require older readers to really be able to get anything out of this book. I would say the best group would probably be early elementary schoolers who have not yet outgrown their love of the idea of dragons and fairies.
Ultimately, I rate The Magical Kingdom of Ing 2 out of 4 stars. If I could give it 2.5 stars I would, as the pictures and the message are beautiful. However, because of the issues with the awkward verses, I think a lot of that message gets lost. I would recommend to the author that she re-edit at least the Kindle version of this book to make it easier for the reader to interpret the intended rhythm of the verses.
The Magical Kingdom of Ing
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