Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Cucumber, dear, I just think you ought to run over and see what's wrong! I'm sure the school will let you reenrol once you're done saving the kingdom."
Magician-in-training Cucumber is all set to head off to Puffington's Academy "for the Magically Gifted (and/or incredibly wealthy!)" when he receives a missive from his apparently imprisoned father that he, and only he - definitely not his infinitely more savvy and tough nut of a little sister Almond who wants to be a knight - can save the Doughnut Kingdom from disaster! For the evil Queen Cordelia has taken control of Caketown Castle and is intent on assembling all the Disaster Stones to resurrect the Nightmare Knight. BOO!!! HISS!!!
The only possible way to stop this dastardly plot is for Cucumber to go see the world protector Dream Oracle and head off on a dangerous quest to acquire the legendary Dream Sword and perform some swash-buckling, sword-wielding antics and save the day. But all poor old Cuco wants to do is learn how to cast spells... Now if only we, and he, knew someone who desperately wanted to be a questing knight...
Haha, it's certainly a high fun factor in this all-ages fantasy comedy that also has a surprisingly sharp satirical edge in places. This edition collects a first volume's worth of material from the hugely popular webcomic that has been running since 2011. After a ridiculously successful Kickstarter that resulted in the self-publication of several books, publishers FirstSecond have bought the rights and put out this first glossy collection.
With an art style squarely aimed at gamer-friendly minds and a vibrant colour palette to boot, it's actually a visual feast, not least because all the characters are named and subtly dressed as fruit n' veg! With bunny ears... I don't really know what the bunny ears are all about, in truth, other than to further heighten the cute factor, presumably.
They massively puzzled Whackers, the bunny ears, when I tried this work out on her 6-year-old noggin to her great acclaim. "So they're all wearing bunny ears, then?" she must have asked about ten times as I attempted to carry on, forging valiantly ever onwards to that delirious moment when bedtime reading is concluded and I can finally go downstairs and relax. "No, they have bunny ears," I kept replying, through increasingly gritted teeth. "But they're not bunnies," she kept retorting. Statement not question, you will note. Finally, I gave in... "Actually, you know what, I think you're right: they are wearing bunny ears."
"... I knew it."
Anyway, this is a whole fruitbowl full of fun, a veritable cavalcade of family-friendly crudités. Gigi D.G. has definitely created a work that will delight kids just with its sheer, natural, sugar-laden energy and also make adults cast a wry smile at the more 'serious' social commentary jokes thrown in. Thus neatly blending an all-ages smoothie to satisfy both the sweetest of tooth and also provide a bit of crunch.