Little Book,  Picture books

King and King

Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland (illustrator)
Once there lived a lovelorn prince whose mother decreed that he must marry by the end of the summer. So began the search to find the prince’s perfect match and lo and behold…his name was Lee. You are cordially invited to join the merriest, most unexpected wedding of the year. KING & KING is a contemporary tale about finding true love and living happily ever after, sure to woo readers of any age. A great gift. Exuberant artwork full of visual play calls for repeated readings.
It’s the simplicity that makes this book interesting and likeable. It’s fairly short and adheres to the classic fairytale tradition of a Prince, told to get married by his mother but something’s not quite right with any of the prospective suitors, that is, until he meets ‘the one’ they both fall instantly in love and live happily ever after. It just so happens that in this story, it’s two princes that fall in love.
After the first reading, I had to discuss the outcome with my 4yr old daughter as her view is so entrenched that she couldn’t understand why the Prince would pass on the prettiest Princess. It was therefore nice to get her thinking about relationships and that being pretty isn’t necessarily what everyone looks for in a partner. I would like to think that now, if she saw people of the same sex kissing / told that they were married or gay, it wouldn’t be such a shock to her and instead, accept the fact that not everyone ascribes to the classic ‘Disney’ relationships that she is so used to.
The illustrations whilst clever, were not always to my taste. For me, some of the pages were just too noisy. I guess an older child would be more inclined to pore over the detail on every page but we’re not there yet and I could see that my daughter was starting to lose enthusiasm for the story.
Verdict: A truly modern fairytale that will gently tweak children’s often black & white views of relationships and marriage.
Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Tricycle Press
Publication Date: December 20o2
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Genre: Fairytale retelling, GLBT
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None

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