Title: HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, KING BABY: A Terrible True Story
Written by: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrated by: David Roberts
Candlewick Press, 2017, fiction
For ages (according to the publisher): 4-7
Themes/topics: siblings, families, babies
upon a time,
there was a Happy Family:
a mom, a dad, a gerbil,
and the most beautifulest, cleverest, ever-so-kindest
Princess with long, flowing wondrous hair.
(In fact, actually, she is
Summary (from the publisher):
“On one horrible day, a new ruler is born into a young princess’s family — a ruler she dubs His Royal Highness, King Baby. This small interloper is so smelly. He is so noisy. And all the talk in the Land is about him (“Such a nice burp!” “Oh, what a lovely poo-poo!”), nonstop, ALL THE TIME! Has there ever been such an era of wicked rule? With whimsy and sympathy, Sally Lloyd-Jones tells a satisfying tale of usurped attention — and rapprochement — that every big brother or sister will relate to, while illustrator David Roberts captures all the hilarious details of a child’s active imagination.
When an older sibling with a flair for the dramatic shares her kingdom with a baby tyrant, can there be a happily ever after?”
Why I like this book:
While there are many books that deal with the challenges of a new sibling, the humor here is divine! Seriously! Why is this story not known from Far and Wide across the lands as one of the funniest picture books ever? The princess’s new baby brother is a royal pain in the arse, messing up her once fairy-tale-perfect life. We see this play out in the illustrations and in an extra set of panels that suggest the princess’s drawings. Things come to a head on the “Tragical Day” of King Baby’s first birthday, when all activity centers on “The Darling Birthday Boy” and none on our put-upon princess. But all the attention doesn’t sit well with “his royal babyness” and he has a full-fledged meltdown. No one can help. Until someone does. I think you can guess who.
And if you’re a picture book writer looking for excellent examples of VOICE, please read this story. Lloyd-Jones chooses the perfect words (some newly-coined with hilarious effect) to help us feel the princess’s flair for the dramatic and her strong emotions concerning her terrible new sibling.
Finally, I adore the retro feel and color palette of Roberts’ illustrations. Nothing says 70s better than the high-backed intricately-woven rattan chair that serves as King Baby’s throne and the fashion and stylings of mom and dad and the “Royal Guests.”
When you’re looking for a fun sibling book, you have lots of wonderful choices, but few compare to the voice and word play in HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, KING BABY: A Terrible True Story.
Please check out this week’s other fun PPBF posts on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog: https://susannahill.com/blog/!
(For a colossal collection of picture book reviews, please visit this page on Susanna’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)