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Cardboard by Doug Tennapel

Cardboard (edition 2012)

by Doug Tennapel

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2171553,683 (4.01)1
Authors:Doug Tennapel
Info:GRAPHIX (2012), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Cardboard by Doug TenNapel



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The Basics

Cam's father is out of work, and it just so happens it's Cam's birthday. Out of desperation, his father buys him some "magic cardboard" from a toy vendor. Well, it turns out it really was magic, and when he and Cam make a boxer out of cardboard, he comes to life. Wackiness ensues.

My Thoughts

The first thing I want to make clear is that I know this is middle grade. I know this wasn't written with me in mind. I've read some middle grade books before. The ones that don't talk down to their audience and create an atmosphere of fantasy and wonder can be some of the best journeys you ever take. This wasn't like that. It had fantastical elements to be sure, but it was mainly a comedy piece. Comedy... for ten year old boys.

I can't emphasize enough how far this was from my demographic, how unfunny I found it most of the time. It had its moments, but they were few and far between. Mostly I tried to immerse myself in the story, which had some good elements, and found myself dragged out of it by clumsy jokes that would have a little boy rofling and had me grunting in a curmudgeonly fashion.

Also, the story elements that were good were heavy-handed. Again, it's for little boys. I get it. But TenNapel really treated them like morons. So even realizing I should take into account that I'm older and going to notice the heaviness of the story-telling, I can't excuse it. He talks down to his audience to the point that I can't imagine a kid over five not feeling patronized.

Regardless of who this comic was meant for, I have to be honest about my rating. It was cute, but what substance it had was force-fed, and the comedy was juvenile. I'd give this to a young kid, because it suits them, but it has very little crossover value.

Final Rating

( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
Not as compelling as his other books. I think it had too many messages about parenting, curiosity, bullies, divorce, hate and forgiveness. Somehow it felt a little bogged down. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 13, 2014 |
inventive storyline. Did the father bully the next door neighbor boy with the long hair? sure he did. ( )
  GR8inD8N | Feb 20, 2014 |
A fun night with imagination turns to magic. But when that magic falls into the wrong hands, it becomes a struggle to survive. All with cardboard. ( )
  SparklePonies | Feb 12, 2014 |
I had previously read Ghostopolis by TenNapel and really loved it. So I was very excited when I saw this TenNapel book at my library and decided to pick it up. This is a wonderful fantasy adventure type story set in modern day.

Cam’s birthday is coming up but his dad is out of work and struggling to find a present for him. Finally Cam’s dad buys a piece of “magical” cardboard for his son for a small amount of change. His dad know the gift sucks, but Cam is determined to make the best out of it. So Cam and his dad build a boxer out of the cardboard. Surprisingly the cardboard boxer comes to life! Things are wonderful until Cam’s slightly-evil neighbor, Marcus, steals some of the cardboard and builds his own evil cardboard empire.

I pretty much loved this book, it was creative, very out-there, and an overall fun read.

The full color illustrations were very well done, added a lot to the story, and were easy to follow. I loved them and they were just a delight to look at.

The story is pretty awesome. Basically Cam and his dad disobey the laws given to them by the seller of the magic cardboard and build a cardboard-maker out of the cardboard. When this gets stolen mayhem results. Cam, his dad, and the cardboard boxer find themselves in a battle with a gigantic evil cardboard empire that is threatening to take over the city. The story is crazy, a bit over the top, and has plenty of strangeness...but it was so fun and different from anything I have read before that I just loved it.

There are a lot of elements to the story that made it very engaging to me. Cam’s dad is struggling to provide for his son and his desperation and despair really make him engaging. There is a subplot involving Cam’s dad and the sweet single woman next door who really likes him. Cam’s dad is still pining after his deceased wife and watching Cam’s dad grow enough to start to move on with his life is a nice part to the story and gives a very hopeful feel to it.

There is also a lot about friendship in here. Cam builds a boxer friend and there is a lot of discussion about whether the boxer is a thing or a person. Then there is the relationship between the slightly evil Marcus and Cam. As the story goes on and Cam and Marcus get to know and understand each other they begin to build a friendship as well.

I found the characters very engaging, loved the crazy story, and absolutely adored the evil cardboard world (especially the illustrations of this world). I liked the twist at the end of the story and really enjoyed how hopeful the ending was.

Overall a spectacular read, I really enjoyed this one a lot. The illustration is beautiful, the characters are likable and engaging, and the plot is creative and very fun and different. This is a crazy story, but one I really enjoyed! Recommended to those who like fantasy graphic novels that are a bit quirky and weird. ( )
  krau0098 | Jan 31, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545418739, Paperback)

When cardboard creatures come magically to life, a boy must save his town from disaster.

Cam's down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it's the worst present ever. So to make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard into a man-and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But the neighborhood bully, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:37 -0400)

When cardboard creatures come magically to life, a boy must save his town from disaster.

(summary from another edition)

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