cover image Ten Tall Soldiers: A Story

Ten Tall Soldiers: A Story

Nancy Robison. Henry Holt & Company, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0768-8

Robison's first picture book introduces a beleaguered king--``short and round as a toadstool''--who is constantly frightened by apparitions he spies about his castle. Time and time again, he calls for aid from his ``ten tall soldiers dressed in blue with tall red hats.'' (In an odd illustrative discrepancy, the hats are actually black with red plumes.) Accompanied by a boy named Peter, the soldiers repeatedly answer the monarch's summonses, only to reassure him that the monster has disappeared. It is Peter who at last comes to the tormented ruler's rescue, revealing that the alleged demons are nothing but the king's own shadow. Though most youngsters will have long before reached this conclusion, they will relish being ``one up'' on the king and will find much to chuckle over in Knight's zany, characteristically detailed pictures. Unexpected characters and an inquisitive kitty appear in each vibrantly colored spread, and the soldiers' ever-changing facial expressions are fun to observe. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)