Bunny siblings Cucumber and Almond reside in the deliciously picturesque Doughnut Kingdom, one of seven kingdoms in the world of Dreamside. Cucumber is excited to attend Puffington’s Academy for the Magically Gifted (and/or Incredibly Wealthy). Then he gets an urgent letter from his father, Lord Cabbage, saying that he must drop his magical studies and do something more “manly”—save the world.
Evil queen Cordelia has taken over and plans to summon the Nightmare Knight with the Disaster Stones, and it’s up to Cucumber to stop her. However, Cucumber is no warrior and would rather spend his time reading and learning magic than battling evil. He continually asks those around him why his younger sister, who is training to be a knight, can’t go on the heroic quest instead, but his question is dismissed because he’s the older brother and therefore must be the hero.
When Cucumber’s battle against The BLT trio (Bacon, Dame Lettuce and Sir Tomato—their appearances resemble their food namesakes) takes a turn for the worse, Almond arrives just in time to save the day. Almond reassures Cucumber that she will join him on the heroic quest. The siblings meet an array of quirky characters on their journey, such as the cowardly Sir Carrot, a Dream Oracle who is not as helpful as her name implies, the cute yet arrogant witch Peridot, and the masked thief Saturday.
Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom is filled with interesting characters, heroes who defy stereotypes, and imaginative lands that will draw readers in. While characters are unique in design, the residents of Doughnut Kingdom all seem to have bunny ears on top of their heads and are named after some kind of food. This creates a sense of cohesion among the characters. Bright colors and cute art fit with this fun, magic-driven adventure story. Darker colors are used for panels featuring Cordelia and her minions, adding necessary drama and conflict.
Readers may already be familiar with Gigi D.G.’s webcomic Cucumber Quest, giving this graphic novel a built in audience. Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom will make a great addition to juvenile graphic novel collections, but will appeal to adventure and magic lovers of all ages. Four volumes are currently planned for publication.
Cucumber Quest, vol. 1: The Doughnut Kingdom
by Gigi D.G.
First Second, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12 years