Sunday 23 September 2018

Chasma Knights, by Boya Sun and Kate Reed Petty (First Second) | review by Stephen Theaker

In the cute and colourful world of Chasma Knights, discarded toys roam free in the wild like Pokemon. Everyone goes through a lot of toys, as many as eight a day, because of the fun of catalyzing with them. “Oxygen, chrome, recognize!!” they might shout, “Meet, merge catalyze!” Then they merge with the toy and gain special abilities. It’s a lot of fun. Beryl, however, is a Neon Knight, supposedly too low-powered to catalyze, so she catches toys in the wild for a secret project. She is especially thrilled to capture a cute little dinosaur with a gold core, but no sooner has she stored it within her meowpack than three bad boy sulphur knights show up and steal it from her! To get it back she goes to the toy market, but there she also meets Coro, an oxygen knight who follows Beryl back to her amazing workshop and sneaks in. It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship, although it will have its ups and downs (literally so at times). This is a bright and charming adventure for children that will particularly appeal to fans of Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire. The art style is very pretty – imagine a combination of Adventure Time and Katamari Damacy – and as usual with First Second books it would make a great gift. Any parent or school would be happy to see their children learning the lessons of this story. It encourages recycling and repairing, kindness and resilience, recognising everyone’s contributions to a joint project and sharing the credit fairly, making amends for bad decisions, and (most important of all) following safety instructions carefully. ****

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