Take a trip to other dimensions with a diverse group of young travelers. Sir Raphael and Skylar, his flying steed, are joined by Haniel and Wolvarith, the great wolf warrior, along with Frogeye and Wise Old Owl. Protecting all of them is sassy Sister Seven, the elm tree. Raphael is on a quest to regain his parents’ kingdom. The group are given magical crystal beans that will aid them in their journey. Each crystal coincides with one of the entrances to magical geodes that will bring them to other dimensions and wild adventures as they learn and grow together. In the end they learn the Seven Values of the Kingdom, which every young reader in any dimension should learn.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite The Journey Beyond Seven Values of the Kingdom by Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves is an inventive middle-grade fantasy story. Brother and sister Raphael and Haniel travel through a sequence of symbolic geodes accompanied by their awkward, insecure friend, Frogeye, and their companions—a hilarious talking tree, a mystical wolf, a regal horse, and an owl. At each geode, they learn important personal lessons tailored for them as their journey to understand the universe continues. I gradually fell in love with the story and the characters, until the climactic end with the rebuilding of the castle filled me with deep satisfaction. As an adult reader, I see how much this story would appeal to children, but the themes and ideas would make many adults feel equally at home. Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves has a poetic, visionary quality as an author, and the story uses the simplest language to depict deep themes in a really special way. The imagery is thoughtful and quietly beautiful. Each “stone” the characters travel through—stones are portals to the next step of their quest—was individualized and lovely, and the geodes were all different colors with different properties. I loved the pictures of actual gemstones that accompanied the descriptions. Reading this book was like an imaginative extrapolation of real life, envisioning walking through different jewels. Frogeye’s conclusion surprised me, but I was very pleased with it. This is the kind of book parents should be giving their kids. Recommended for anyone who likes middle-grade fantasy with a wholesome message.
Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers' Favorite The Journey Beyond Seven Values of the Kingdom by Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves is the story of an amazing journey through many crystal geodes by a young prince named Raphael. He is accompanied by his friends; Skylar, a pony, his sister, the beautiful and gracious Haniel, Wolvarith, a white shaman wolf with many lives, Wise Old Owl, and the courageous and delightful Frog Prince, Frogeye, whose identity and destiny is yet to unfold. Sister Seven, who is a tree, cannot be forgotten as she has incredible powers that mother earth and the universe have granted her. The story starts with a prayer that sets the tone: “One should always believe in oneself and the universe will be one with you always.” The adventurers start their journey by going through a crystal geodesic into a timeless tunnel and finally reach Raphael’s father's throne. Knowing he is in tune with the universe, Raphael calls out to his father to guide him. His father speaks to him from across dimensions and describes how the evil came from all over the land in different forms, shapes, and sizes. Although he, men and women fought bravely, he was caught off guard, distraught, and killed by a powerful warrior. He explains that the power of evil tears at all beings with good hearts, minds, and intentions and that evil tries to divide and conquer all. He exhorts Raphael to stand strong, no matter what! The little band of warriors continue their incredible journey, traveling across time and space through many geodes of many colors, across many dimensions. They encounter the many gifts of the universe - meats and fruits, human values of courage and kindness, precious metals and stones of great value, the abundance of nature in beautiful forests and marvelous flowers that the universe gives us selflessly. They encounter evil in the form of a powerful scorpion whom Raphael vanquishes in battle, but does not destroy once he realizes that the evil in the scorpion has been dissipated, a lesson in nobility to readers. Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves has written a memorable tale full of human values. The chapters flow seamlessly into each other, formatting is excellent, and the pictures of beautiful crystals that make up the geodes are superb. The ending is charming. This is a 5 star book and should be read if one wants to be in tune with the universe!