Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com
THE GINGERBREAD KINGDOM is an interesting and intriguing fantasy novel that combines elements of L. Frank Baum's THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ with those from the child's board game Candyland. Filled with realistic characters, fantastical creatures, and a fun storyline, this is a book that's perfect for younger readers. It's also filled with enough action and adventure to keep older readers, especially those who are reluctant to pick up a huge novel, completely captivated.
Holman Orphanage, or "Hopeless Orphanage," as the children who live there have named it, is a sad place filled with little joy. The children who call it home know that every rule must be followed to the letter. No one knows that better than Jay, a boy who has born the brunt of Headmaster Holman's anger on more than one occasion. When he gets in trouble, yet again, for leaving the bathroom faucet dripping, he knows that he won't be able to survive another day spent in the cellar.
So he decides to get away from "Hopeless Orphanage" once and for all. Amid the cries of his roommates--Ben, Sam, and Timmy--Jay runs away from the Orphanage with nothing but the clothes he is wearing. He promises that once he finds a place to stay, he'll come back for the other boys. And then he's gone.
Except Jay finds more than he'd bargained for outside the walls of Holman Orphanage. The world outside is a strange, fascinating place, filled with magic. There are men made of gingerbread, Sugarplum Fairies, and even giant bees. Soon Jay finds himself caught up in a plan to save the Gingerbread King, King Otto, from the evil Queen Beatrice and her army of Stingers. How is it that Jay ran away from one horrible situation only to find himself caught up in a battle of good versus evil?
Readers will find themselves rooting for Jay and his magical friends as he attempts to thwart Queen Beatrice from taking over the Gingerbread Kingdom. They'll also find that this small boy, once under the hard ruling thumb of a bitter Headmaster, just might have a few tricks up his sleeve to save King Otto from harm. An interesting book for all lovers of fantasy!