Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Groundworld Heroes by Adrian So

by Adrian So
Monarch Educational Services
Middle Grade Adventure
149 pages
ages 8 to 12

AUGUST 6th!!!

When Groundworld is on the brink of extinction, it takes one mole with courage to save the day.

When Benjamin, a junior mole digger, witnesses a human invasion of his homeland, he must find his long-lost courage and unite two culturally distinct realms to fight the intruders and save his kind from extinction. What perils lie before him as he ventures into the unknown? Can Benjamin go up against a rough bunch of illegal animal trappers before it's too late? 

Meet the Groundworld heroes as they defend their country's sovereignty and save their fellow citizens from capture and extinction. 

Perfect for fans of Kate Dicamillo and Roald Dahl.

GOODREADS   /    AMAZON    /    B&N


The underground world and it's brave characters make this a tale to enjoy from beginning to end.

Benjamin is a junior mole digger and doing his best to learn his profession in Groundworld, an underground civilization of animals which is slowly disappearing thanks to the changing world above. When the humans dig into the ground and break through the ceiling of Groundworld, the civilization is threatened to be completely destroyed. Benjamin does his best to save those around him but is separated from his crew and even left behind. Determined to find a way to reunite with is family and friends, he not only runs into more danger than he could ever dream but finds himself on a mission to save them all.

In some respects, this book reminded me of Watership Down by Richard Adams, but while there are a couple, similar, small aspects, Groundworld is a realm of its own. Groundworld is an imaginative world, which draws in with its charm, burrows harboring stores, schools, and more...and that just below the ground. The animals are sympathetic as they carry enough familiarity for readers to connect with, while diving into a realm of fantasy. Add Benjamin, who is a mole to adore, and it's a tale, which is easy to get lost in and enjoy.

The author doesn't wait long until the first danger hits, thrusting the entire realm into panic. The danger is clear, and the threat deadly. Benjamin is a clear underdog, who doesn't have high aspirations. His humbleness and determination make him easy to root for as he hits one difficult challenge right after the other. The author adds surprising twists to head in unexpected directions, and this works especially well at the end. There are moments to hold ones breath, and others to make a reader sigh. It's well-paced and promises excitement the entire way through.

While the dangers and tension rarely relax, there's enough lightness and humor to keep it at the lower, middle grade level. The messages surrounding the environment are present and clear, but there are others which hit upon themes such as working together, working past prejudices, perseverance, and more. These slide right in with the action and heart to add richness to the plot.

Especially the younger end of the middle grade audience will enjoy the shorter length, while working into a story which resembles the larger reads. It never talks down to the reader, but opens up an exciting world, where heroes come in all shapes and sizes.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one. It's cool that Adrian is published at 14 years old. I'm featuring her in October at Literary Rambles.

Carol Baldwin said...

Great review! As Adrian's publicist, I'm so glad you liked it@