cover image The King of Too Many Things

The King of Too Many Things

Laurel Snyder, illus. by Aurore Damant. Rodale Kids, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62336-874-6

In a dry-humored modern fairy tale, Snyder (Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova) explores the concept of less is more as she introduces King Jasper, a young royal who is eager to add some excitement to his kingdom. After Jasper asks the Wizard to bring a dragon into the picture, the creature smashes through a window and starts lighting “tiny fires everywhere.” What better to stomp out those fires than robots? Each magically summoned addition to the kingdom brings new problems, even a passel of kittens, meant to pacify local children (they’re upset over having to wait to go flying with the new superheroes in town). French illustrator Damant’s bright and cheery illustrations bring a Mary Blair–meets-Pixar aesthetic to the pages, which is ideally suited to the way Snyder blends contemporary and classic details; Damant gives the Wizard and King Jasper fittingly regal outfits, but also Converse-style sneakers. Messages about contentedness and good citizenship land with a light touch, including Jasper’s eventual understanding that a good king takes responsibility for the messes he makes. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Sept.)