Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The King and the Seed by Eric Maddern and Paul Hess (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

The King and the Seed

Written by Eric Maddern

Illustrated by Paul Hess

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books

With a truly wondrous folk-tale feel, and sumptuous illustrations, "The King and the Seed" instantly caught our attention on our recent library visit. We're huge fans of folk tales and fables, stories that offer depth and perhaps a life-lesson or two and you definitely get both in this book.

One day, while looking in the mirror, King Karnak becomes aware that the march of time is taking its toll and soon he'll be too old to reign over his kingdom. With no heir apparent, the king comes up with a plan to find someone worthy to take his crown and throne after he passes away.

Calling on all the knights and noblemen in the land, the king gathers them together for a contest. Knights being knights, they naturally assume that it will be a contest of strength, of fighting ability, or marksmanship with a bow but the king has something else in mind.

A young farmer's son is caught up in the events of the day, and ends up in the queue for the quest the king has in mind. A simple task, to grow a seed into a wonderful plant - with the most impressive horticulturist being granted the throne at the end.

The boy gingerly takes his seed and heads home. Being a farmer's son he thinks he's in with as good a chance as anyone to grow an impressive plant, but try as he might, lavishing as much love and attention as he can on the seed, not a green shoot or a leaf springs forth.

Dejected and forlorn, the boy turns up at the end of the six months with his pot of soil and seed.

All around him, the knights and noblemen have wonderful blooms and plants of all shapes and sizes, which makes the boy sadder than ever. Alas, the boy still ends up in the queue to present his pot to the king. But what happens next?

A wonderful tale that's full of excitement and a knowing nod to classics like the Aesops fables or Grimms Fairy Tales.

Charlotte's best bit: The knights and their showing off.

Daddy's Favourite bit: A great non-preachy life lesson spun into a gorgeous story with truly lovely 'classic' feeling artwork.

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