by Sharon Creech, published 2007
“The Queen could always tell when the King had visited the hermit, for he would be, for a short time, calmer than usual, not straining at his restrictive clothing, not complaining or yawning. She would find him sitting mute on his throne,…gazing placidly around the room.”
This children’s book is just pure and simple fun. I found the book in a used book store, and was immediately struck by its beauty. The cover is a work of art, as are the small, illuminated miniatures that begin each chapter. In addition, it is written by a favorite author of children’s books, Sharon Creech. I knew immediately I had to get the book, and I was not disappointed in the slightest.
The best way I can categorize this children’s book is to call it an extended fairy tale, one which makes fun of fairy tales and royalty. It makes the serious point about contentment, and offers a wonderful, open-ended conclusion, one that leads to any number of new beginnings. The book is as enchanted as any fairy tale might be. It works as a read-aloud for younger (6 to 8) children, and a terrific chapter book for children who can read on their own.
I’m a little surprised it’s not better known, but I think it is possibly because Sharon Creech’s most well-known children’s books are for older readers. This is a definite departure from her normal style, and, I hope she does more.
(Note: the beautiful cover and artwork refer to the hardcover edition of this book; worth getting for it’s total exquisite reading experience.)