cover image His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story

His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story

Sally Lloyd-Jones, illus. by David Roberts. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9793-8

This displacement-themed fairy tale spoof is funny from the very first page, when Lloyd-Jones (Baby Wren and the Great Gift) introduces her fantasizing heroine as “the most beautifulest, cleverest, ever-so-kindest Princess with long, flowing wondrous hair,” and Roberts (Ada Twist, Scientist) shows her wearing yellow tights on her head in an approximation of golden tresses. But happily-ever-after goes out the window with the arrival of a smelly, attention-grabbing baby brother, aka King Baby. As the girl bemoans her fate in storybook-style narration, the sly pen-and-watercolor pictures provide delicious comic counterpoint, from the 1970s-retro detailing (a wicker peacock chair stands in as throne) to panel sequences that mirror Roberts’s crisp images with crayon-scrawled ones that reflect the girl’s version of events. It takes the meltdown of King Baby at his first birthday party to trigger two epiphanies: she has magical powers to soothe him, and l’état, c’est moi can be true of brother-sister rulers. Comparisons to Kate Beaton’s King Baby and Marla Frazee’s The Boss Baby are natural, but Lloyd-Jones and Roberts’s satire stands on its own. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agency: Artist Partners. (Sept.) [/em]