How to Save a Queendom

Jessica Lawson. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1434-1
Enchanted snakes, gator-infested swamps, and vicious birds await narrator Stub-the-Nuisance, a 12-year-old orphan, when she agrees to journey to Maradon Cross before Queen Sonora’s festive Peace Day. Stub, a mistreated and illiterate tavern apprentice whose only friend is a chicken, finds herself magically bound to the Queen’s wizard, Orlen. Rendered no taller than a thumb after a spell backfires, Orlen relies on Stub to help rescue Queen Sonora, believed to be in danger. Together with brown-skinned apprentice chef Beaman Cork, Stub and Orlen, both white, traverse perilous mountains en route to Maradon. Disguising themselves as workers in the Queen’s castle, Stub and Beaman learn that the 100-year peace pact between Maradon’s kingdom and another, Wintrel, comes with a hefty price tag. And with their help, the queen must decide how to use newly discovered gifts to save Maradon. This jam-packed fantasy from Lawson (Under the Bottle Bridge) brims with delicious language—“humming honey,” “blue smoke smackers”—while enchanting characters, rich worldbuilding, and energetic pacing frame its rousing action. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/18/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-5344-1435-8
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