cover image Mr. King’s Things

Mr. King’s Things

Geneviève Côté. Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453-700-6

There’s no faulting the taste of Mr. King, a young lion who wears a crown and has a charming house filled with chairs, teapots, umbrellas, and other objects. It’s his behavior that’s the problem: “As soon as one of his things becomes the tiniest bit old, he tosses it in the nearby pond and replaces it with a new one,” writes Côté as she pictures Mr. King chucking a tuba and chair into the water. Côté’s delightful artwork—which consists of a cast of childlike, crayon-outlined animals populating a cheerful, subtly textured world of swooping hills and pristine waters—makes her message about wastefulness go down easy. The book’s best moment occurs when Mr. King goes fishing and hooks a big ’un: a spread shows “the scariest-looking thing Mr. King has ever seen” launching itself toward the screaming angler (the giant “fish” is made up of Mr. King’s discards, with a coffee table for a head, chairs for a spine, and umbrella tail). While Mr. King’s abashed moment of enlightenment is rushed, it’s still a lighthearted take on the “reuse” component of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)