In this fantastical novel, Disney's Magic Kingdom suddenly becomes a bit eerie. Finn Whitman and four other teens have been hired as Disney World guides, but with an odd twist: With cutting-edge technology, they have been transformed into hologram projections capable of leading guests around the park. What begins as an exciting theme park job turns into a virtual nightmare as Whit and his pals attempt to thwart an uprising by a menacing group of Disney villains.
For anyone who has imagined what goes on in Walt Disney World after the gates close to the public, Pearson's (Peter and the Starcatchers) tale and Littman's authentic-sounding narration, in middle-schooler Finn Whitman's voice, offer a suspenseful all-access pass to the Magic Kingdom behind the scenes-filled with action, technology and a tricky (and implausible) riddle. Finn lands a cooler-than-cool opportunity after he becomes a model for a new breed of "holographic hosts" (Disney Host Interactive/Daylight Hologram Imaging) at Disney World. But the experience gets weirder than weird when Finn and the other four DHIs find themselves transported to the park via their nighttime dreams and must save the Magic Kingdom from Disney witches and villains called "Overtakers" by solving a puzzle said to be left behind by Walt himself. Littman reads at a smooth pace, speeding up along with the story's tension. He nails realistic kid-like reactions and dialogue even though listeners might find much of the plot hard to believe (and some of the plugs for Disney a bit over the top). Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This book is about a group of kids picked to be DHI's (Disney Host Interactives). Everything is normal until they start having weird dreams that aren't really dreams at all. I liked the book because it has an in-depth story line and imagination. It is written in a way that had me thinking that I was there, watching what was going on. I think people who are into fantasy with a little bit of sci-fi will enjoy this book. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Hyperion, 325p., Ages 11 to 18.
William Jeys, Teen Reviewer
Gr 6-9-Thirteen-year-old Finn and several of his friends become holograms at Florida's Disney World and then find themselves literally pulled into nighttime adventures in the theme park. Ridley Pearson's fantasy (Disney Editions, 2005) is fast paced and technologically savvy. Finn and his friends make repeated forays after hours into the very guts of such Disney icons as Tom Sawyer's Island, It's a Small World, Adventure Mountain, and other rides both tame and wild as they lay siege to Maleficent, an evil witch whose minions are at work to destroy the Disney mystique. The kids hang out at the park looking for signs and signals that will aid them in their nighttime quest for securing Disney power. Their parents are mildly suspicious, but Finn and his pals are fast talkers, willing to face their nighttime nemeses alone, rather than bringing in adult forces. Gary Littman reads with a variety of accents, some of which are less successful than others, and it's easy to differentiate among both kids and adults. Given how much Disney has seeped into the very core of Americana, most listeners will be able to understand the references and will know for whom Maleficent is a foil. While the details about why one would become a hologram for Disney are slighted, the sleuthing aspect of the tale has universal appeal.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
When Finn is selected as the model for a holographic guide in the Magic Kingdom, he never imagines it will pit him against the evil forces plotting to destroy Disney World. Along with the four other teens who act as Disney's holographic hosts, Finn appears in the Magic Kingdom in his dreams. There, an old Disney Imagineer tells the five they have been specially selected to save Disney World. The evil forces of the Overtakers-Disney's villains, led by the witch Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty-are coming to life to destroy first the Magic Kingdom, and then the world. Luckily, Walt Disney wrote a riddle long ago that can be solved to defeat the Overtakers. As they study the puzzle, the heroes battle witchcraft and living animatronics in the theme park's after-hours. Though the adventure makes cunning use of Disney's mythos-a scene in which the "It's a Small World" dolls attack the adventurers while singing their famous song is chilling-flat characters and an anticlimactic finale detract from the cleverness. (Fantasy. 11-13)