Mathias Bootmaker and the Keepers of the Sandbox
Publisher: the author
Source: the author
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Mathias Bootmaker is, appropriately, a bootmaker who has a problem - he has a bit of amnesia and can't remember who he is or what he does - in addition to bad dreams that plague him. So he sets out on a journey to find out who he is and on the way he meets a little boy who is then stolen by the kingdom, just as all young children are stolen to brainwash the creativity out of them. Now Mathias, who objects to the general public's lack of doing anything about it, decides something needs to be done.
What I liked: The author did a great job with the voice of the narrator; the book is very lyrical and descriptive and that drew me in even though it was a bit confusing at first. The whole book had a great magical and wondrous quality to it because it was so imaginative; Medina has more imagination in his pinky finger than I have in my whole body and that works to his advantage.
What I didn't like: It was a bit confusing, I'm not going to lie. It took me a few chapters to figure out what exactly was going on. I also didn't like the ending, which I guess you could call a cliffhanger, but it was more like the book ended mid-thought.
I asked the author before I started reading what the intended age group was and he simply said it was written for a wide audience. Here's my take: Overall, this was a pretty existential children's book that might go over young children's heads. I think middle-schoolers would like it and also if you're an adult and you're into existentialism, you'll probably enjoy this cute little book, too.
Three stars because I liked it, but I was not in love with it. For 99¢ on Amazon, you can't go wrong if you're looking for something short and whimsical to read on a rainy night.