The Kingdom of Mine

Gary Edwards, illus. by Masako Dunn. Cupola (IPG, dist.), $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-9834046-1-3
A classic framing device tells “the story about the rocks in the meadow” in this simple morality tale in which a young king inherits the rule of a small, flourishing kingdom. Promising to continue his father’s legacy and safeguard “all that his father had cherished in the land,” he builds a stone wall higher and higher to keep intruders (children) out, and beauty (deer, birds, clouds) in. Dunn’s paintings depict a medieval setting, initially full of color, greenery, and contented humanity that, over the course of several brief chapters, becomes grayer and darker, as the stone wall rises to the sky. Bleak images of depressed deer that won’t jump, birds that won’t sing or fly, and a distraught, isolated king struggling to discern where he went wrong evoke a somber, reflective mood. The final chapters, entitled “The Awakening,” “The Plan,” and “The Resolution,” depict the king’s determination to make amends, and the astonished and joyful response of his kingdom as he begins to break down the wall. Edwards adeptly conveys complex ideas of ownership, responsibility, and community in a straightforward and nonpreachy manner. Ages 3–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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