When Disney comes looking for five teenagers to serve as actors for a new technology-Daylight Hologram Images, or DHIs-there is more to it than meets the eye. Strange things have been happening inside the Florida park: parts from one ride are found mysteriously moved to another; in the Fantasmic! show, the dragon unexplainably triumphs over Mickey; little blips in story lines and "offstage" antics by characters trouble managers. Finn Whitman, a middle-schooler, goes to sleep one night and has the dream of a lifetime: he "wakes up" inside Disney World as his DHI character, a glowing hologram. He meets an old man there, Wayne, who claims to be one of the original Imagineers and explains to Finn that he "and your friends" have a mission to save the park from forces that humans can neither see nor hear. Not believing his dream, but not totally discounting it, Finn, back in real life, sets out to find the four other kids who were chosen to be DHIs and in doing so he learns an eerie fact: he is not alone in this "dream." The others have had similar experiences. What if this is for real?
Ridley Pearson follows his popular "Peter and the Starcatchers" with this action packed early teen novel. Thousands of families have visited Disney World since it first opened, the Magic Kingsom being the most beloved park of the current five. Within this park are all the beloved characters that children see in movies. Children of all ages have explored the Kingdom, but no one has seen it after dark, until now.
Kingdom Keepers is fast-paced with loads of vivid imagery. Readers who have been to the Magic Kingdom can easily reference the various places in it like Cinderella's Castle and the Haunted Mansion along with characters like Mickey Mouse and Pirates. Don't mistake this book as a Disney marketing tool though. Sure, it could be seen that way, but this book does stand alone. Even if the park didn't exist, this book is a great action read and perfect for a boy looking for some adventure. The Kingdom Keepers is a must-read for everyone, regardless of whether or not you've had the opportunity to visit the parks. Who know, maybe one day you will visit, and you will find yourself looking for the teepee's on Tom Sawyer's island, imagining the cold breath of Malificent the Witch as she comes looking for you.