The Land Without Color by Benjamin Ellefson and illustrated by Kevin Cannon, paperback, 168 pages, published by Beaver’s Pond Press in 2015.
For his birthday, Alvin is given a special pocketknife, which comes in very handy when he finds himself transported to another world. The Kingdom of Color does not live up to its name; when Alvin arrives, the colour has been leached from the land and its inhabitants. With his new friends, Permy the squirrel and Ronaldo the mouse, Alvin sets about discovering the cause of the colour loss and how to recover it.
A fantastical adventure with dragons, goblins, man-eating plants, talking animals and free ice-cream and candy for all! The Land Without Color is a wonderful lollop through a magical world that will appeal to a wide range of children. It is well written with good description and some black and white illustrations scattered through the book. Character development was really good, and I got to know Alvin as I followed on his adventure. Though only twelve, he is brave and compassionate with a well developed sense of right and wrong. I liked him a lot, however, Permy was definitely my favourite. The dragon with two heads was an interesting creature, long necks and a giant coiled body. I liked that one head was blue and the other red, and the blue one could breath ice cream instead of fire. That’s a pretty nifty trick!
Junk food is extremely bad for the residents of the Kingdom of Color, as it is the conduit for the colour loss. It also results in a loss of energy and drive, whereas eating vegetables and fruit gives the people back their colour and energy. The message was clear; “Eat Your Vegetables!” I liked this as a theme, and I thought it was well executed. At first the message was subtle, but it became quite strong by the end, and was reinforced through the story. I hope it works to help kids eat veges and fruit!
The Land Without Color is suitable for middle and upper primary school students. Adults will most likely enjoy sharing this book with their child too, I did! This book is the start of a series, with the next book, The Great Sugar War, expected out in late 2016.
*I received this book from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.