Book Review: Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid
by Dina C. Tate
Publication Date: Sep 09, 2016
List Price: $18.00
Format: Hardcover, 95 pages
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
Imprint: Global Girl’s Squad
Publisher: Global Girl’s Squad
Parent Company: Global Girl’s Squad LLC
Book Reviewed by Troy Johnson
Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid is the first book in a series of chapter books targeted to young girls of color. The series author Dina C. Tate has made it her mission to inspire young girls to read about different cultures.
Lizzie and McKenzie are homegirls who hail from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY. Lizzie and McKenzie may live in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, but they don’t conform to the stereotypes often associated with Black youth form the ‘hood. McKenzie’s mon is an interior designer who runs her business out of a home office in her brownstone. Lizzie and McKenzie also attend a good school and are eager to learn, but this does not mean the girls do not have challenges. The pressure to conform and bullying are a couple of universal challenges the girls experience.
Like all girls they have their own personalities; McKenzie, who hates dresses and does not back down from a fight is very different from her best friend Lizzie who loves dresses and jewelry. These young ladies will learn it is their differences that will serve them well in the fantastic adventures they are will encounter.
Early in the first book of the series Princess Lovina of Exquisite City reveals herself to Lizzie and McKenzie after a rain shower. Princess Lovina tasks the young ladies to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. To accomplish this task the girls well need to travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood.
The Seven Crystals of Sisterhood will sound similar to the six Infinity stones known to fans of Marvel Comics. In the Marvel universe, combining all six Infinity stones can create ultimate power and combing and all seven Crystals of Sisterhood can be very powerful too, but the similarities end there. The beautiful seven Crystals of Sisterhood is a tool for helping readers appreciate that combining differences yield a strength not possible from acting alone. This appears to be a theme we see in each book in the series.
Another theme is travel and exploring different cultures. On their quest to stop the Same Glam Goddess Lizzie and McKenzie must travel to Madrid, Spain where they team up with another Princess Lovina recruit, Lucia. With Lucia’s help Lizzie and McKenzie learn various aspects of Madrid’s culture, language, and historical sites—while thwarting the efforts of the Same Glam Goddess to make all girls the same.
Readers are treated to anime inspired, grayscale images, by Adam Turner which appear throughout the book. Facts about Madrid are provided at the end rounding out a cultural lesson and fun adventure.
Dina C. Tate set up Global Girls Squad LLC in order to develop and self-publish a series of chapter books for young girls of color. The idea is to set young heroines, Lizzie and McKenzie, on adventures that will have them traveling the world, learning about other cultures, and celebrate being different.
Tate makes a fine start in accomplishing her goal of, inspiring young girls to read about different cultures, in Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid. The adventure actually drives the story. Learning about Madrid is simply part of the adventure. Exposure to other cultures in this fashion is sure to make the process fun. Young readers will certainly look forward to more of Lizzie and McKenzie’s adventures as they learn about other places around the world.