June 10, 2013

The Royal Treatment

Hello blogosphere! So the book that sparked this post is King Hugo's Ego by Chris Van Dusen. Hugo tells the story of a very tiny but very egotistical king who mistreats the wrong person, a sorceress in disguise. The consequence for his behavior? A swollen head to match his swollen ego, of course. And the more egotistical he acts, the bigger his head gets until it finally falls off his body and rolls out of the castle. Eventually the king sees the error of his ways, and, after a long discussion with the sorceress, he lives happily ever after with her.



look at that head rolling away!

Rachel Rollke's and Jolby's The King's 6th Finger is much the same: King Mortimer has a form of OCD that makes him obsessed with the number 5, so when he grows a sixth finger he has to learn to compromise with himself and others, laying to rest his obsessive compulsive ways. Like King Hugo's Huge Ego, the king is in the wrong for the majority of the story, but eventually learns to see the error of his ways.



Keeping all this information in mind, it's interesting for me to see the thematical differences between books with kings/queens and books with princes/princesses. Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith, and The Prince's New Pet by Brian Anderson are also favorites and I don't know if it's because they're Princes and Princesses rather than Kings and Queens, but they seem to have a lot more control over their surroundings and themselves. Princess Hyacinth is the story of poor Princess Hyacinth who literally cannot stay grounded. The whole castle goes to great lengths to keep her on the ground, from placing a heavy crown on her head to sending in the royal guard to grab her from the ceiling every morning, but nothing seems to work. The princess ultimately must learn to embrace her strange ability and use it to her advantage: 




The Prince's New Pet also tells the story of a royal who feels trapped in his life. He lives in a colorless world (color has been banished since his mother died years ago), and when he receives a special gift on his birthday, a mysterious, colorful creature, his whole life and the lives of those around him take an interesting turn. Once again, he demonstrates a royal taking advantage of a seemingly unfortunate event and turning it into an opportunity to incite change within his life:




These stories are equal to those about the kings in the sense that they are all striving to solve a problem, but those about the younger royals seem to be more about coming of age than overcoming a personality flaw.


Royally yours,
Mel