cover image Tiny Tyrant

Tiny Tyrant

Lewis Trondheim, , trans. from the French by Alexis Siegel. . Roaring Brook/First Second, $12.95 (124pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-094-5

Selfish, short-tempered, unscrupulous, stubborn, and willing to do anything to get what he wants"—that's King Ethelbert, the pint-size monarch of the nation of Portocristo in Trondheim's hilarious series of illustrated stories, originally serialized between 2001 and 2004. Ethelbert rules the way any six-year-old would—requiring his chef to build gigantic sundaes so he can eat just one bite, demanding to see Santa Claus in person, passing a law that makes him the automatic winner of all television game shows ("The King of Portocristo ran his country as a pig might an aircraft carrier," writes his court biographer). Even his good intentions end up going spectacularly wrong, as when he decides to make amends to the parents of his kingdom for a botched plan by sending each family a live alligator ("That way, parents will be able to make fashionable backpacks for their children." An ongoing competition with his cousin Sigismund for the hand of the wealthy Princess Hildegardina provides a bit of continuity to the chapters, but by and large it is a collection of brief, stand-alone episodes, rendered in a quirky visual style that channels a blend of The Pink Panther and John Kricfalusi. Ages 8-up. (May)