Evil Emperor Nurbison has his eye on the peaceful, neighboring kingdom of Edwinland.
Nine-year-old King Edwin of Edwinland has been put in charge of his pocket money (otherwise known as the royal treasury) by the overworked Minster Jill, who hoped it would teach Edwin responsibility. Every Friday, Edwin has taken his wheelbarrow full of gold pocket money and bought all the chocolates in all the candy shops and distributed them to his peasants using King Edwin’s Nutritious Nibbles Ejector, Thrower, and Hurler, depicted in Seussian fashion with cogs, horns, dials, and cranks aplenty. When the money runs out (really: the enormous piggy bank is totally empty), Emperor Nurbison uses the peasants’ discontent at the cessation of free chocolates and a cunningly disguised cow to take over Edwinland. Can King Edwin, Minister Jill, and Jester Megan come up with a plan to regain Edwin’s throne? Maybe, with a few cunning disguises and a lot of lemonade….British movie and TV scribe Riley’s heavily illustrated, foolish tale of courtly high jinks will please fans of Dragonslayer Academy as well as Big Nate readers looking for something hysterical—er—historical. Stakes are never high; Nurbison is more foolish than fearsome. And Edwin’s sweetly cheeky charm will lead those comfortable with chapters to request the obviously planned sequel. Minister Jill is a bespectacled black woman, while the other principals seem to be white.
An agreeably fizzy series opener. (Fantasy. 7-10)