cover image His Royal Buckliness

His Royal Buckliness

Kevin Hawkes. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11062-8

Hawkes ( Lady Bugatti ) attempts--with only moderate success--to combine magic and whimsy in this fantasy of opposites. Lord Buckley is plucked from his snug island by a crew of well-meaning giants who ``crowned him their king / then carried him to their frozen land filled with giant things.'' Harmless though his captors may be, the homesick peer casts a summons out to sea in a bottle. Soon afterward, a band of his countrymen arrives, laden down with a mysterious red-checked parcel that ultimately bursts forth with symbols of springtime, guaranteed to thaw even a frozen giant's heart. The subtle, often humorous details of the vibrant oil paintings go a long way toward invigorating the spare, rather forced rhyming text. (Hawkes's witty prose for his debut, Then the Troll Heard the Squeak , was far more buoyant.) Curious, saucer-eyed characters sport various amusing expressions; most appealing are the jolly faces, both large and small, to reassure readers that ``in the end, they parted friends, / and sent Lord Buckley home again.'' Ages 4-up. (Oct.)