The Kingdom of Glee by Nicholas Tana and illustrated by Jessica Abbot and Elise Leutwyler is a simple book with a fairly simple message: money does not make you happy, kindness does. There’s an incredibly huge roundabout throughout the book to get to this message, but ultimately this is really all that it’s about. Money vs. kindness and the people who make those decisions. And I mean, it’s cute and colorful and definitely decent for children but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like it.
So, the story basically follows two kingdoms: the kingdom of Glee and the kingdom of Angry. Everyone in Glee is incredibly and everyone in Angry is, well, angry. In Glee, everyone is kind and helpful and they build each other up. In Angry, everyone is selfish and the wizard ruling the kingdom becomes convinced that the only reason the people of Glee in the kingdom just over the hill are so happy is that they are blessed with mountains of gold.
And so, in an attempt to procure happiness for himself, the wizard sends monsters from his kingdom to steal that very gold.
The only problem? Glee has no gold!
The rest of the story follows how laziness, jealousy, and thoughtlessness can make people unhappy, but how literally the opposite will allow happiness to flourish. And it’s not bad, really. The themes, overall, are really good. I think it’s really just the way it was written that didn’t do it for me. The rhyming isn’t always great and, while still good, the messages are all thrown into your face.
But, you know, kids will love it. The illustrations are great, bright, and colorful. There’s a clear villain, conflict, and resolution. So, in the end, it’s decent enough. Just not one of my favorites.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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