Grumpy Little King is grumpy all the time. He is grumpy when he is playing golf, grumpy riding in his limousine, grumpy despite his wealth and privilege. He would really rather be a big king, ruler of a very large kingdom. It seems that if he is to be happy, then he must conquer another larger kingdom. And that means war. So he has his advisers marshal his forces, gathering bakers and butchers and everyone in the kingdom who is able, to join his army. The time of the battle approaches and the two opposing kings join the front line. But not to fight, just to demand that their troops prevail. It is then that the troops, few of them willing conscripts decide to take matters into their own hands. Illustrations are cartoony plus colour (love the camouflage uniforms) and include plenty of white space. The cover shows the very grumpy king sitting atop his much-too-big throne.
Grumpy Little King is great fun. It shows king behaving badly, obsequious followers/advisers and a co-opted general public army who eventually realise that their ‘leader’ may not actually be much of a leader at all. Older children and adults will enjoy Grumpy Little Kingand there are plenty of themes about bullies, followers and power of the people. Perhaps it could be sent to some world leaders? Younger children will enjoy the humourous illustrations and the story, but this feels like a work primarily aimed at older children and adults. And why not? It has beautiful endpapers in a portrait format hardback.
Grumpy Little King, Michel Streich Allen & Unwin 2012 ISBN: 9781742375724
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author