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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Please Return to the Lands of Luxury by Jon Tilton is the first book in this exciting new series. Jane enjoys her life - though she hasn’t known anything else - on a unique island filled with the garbage others have thrown away. She considers the island her home and spends her days with her friends Timothy and Rodney. Details of her early life are hazy, but she clings to the memories she does have. Everything she knows is uprooted after she finds a doll. Jane doesn’t believe the toy had been simply discarded like everything else on the island. It even has a tag with a name on it. Timothy and Rodney don’t take her concerns seriously, although she comes up with a plan to return the doll to its rightful owner. But the journey won’t be an easy one as she’ll have to sneak past the metal men preventing anyone from leaving the island. Then all she has to do is navigate the Lands of Luxury and return the doll.
The setting is an important feature in the story with two specific locations - the island of trash and the Lands of Luxury. These two places are important to Jane’s journey which takes her from the confinement of the island to the wonders of luxury. She’s lived her whole life on this island where things are discarded and forgotten. It is the only refuge she and her friends know but it’s also keeping them confined through robots that guard the docks. Her journey takes her to the Lands of Luxury which are filled with wonder and opportunity, including TV, cartoons, fresh food (like strawberries), spices, and a washing machine. Seeing these items through Jane’s eyes makes you think about how we take what we have in our daily lives for granted.
Jane is a headstrong character led by her heart and her determination to prove herself right even when her friends disagree. The writing has an innocence to it that perfectly captures the charm of this world and refers to Jane’s memories of her father as a half-remembered dream. Jon Tilton imparts an emotional core to the characters. Jane’s fear of losing her memories of her parents is relatable and threaded throughout the story with the fuzzy memories of her father and the lovely ones of her mother becoming more important as her journey develops. Please Return to the Lands of Luxury takes three children on a journey filled with wonder, adventure, and discovery as they learn about the value of the home.