Skip to main content

The Tiny King by Taro Miura

Yeah, The Tiny King by Taro Miura, first published in Japan, is a kind of weird book that just might be  as crisply and colorfully straightforward and clean-cut as its illustrations. And I think that's just fine. Not every picture book has to have a deeper meaning that teaches a lesson. Some books stick with you, well into adulthood, and not always for the reasons you think they should. With a simple story and out of the ordinary geometric collage illustrations, The Tiny King is one of those books that stays with you. 

The story that feels familiar and comfortable, a bit like a fairy tale. A tiny king (as the cover notes, this IS the actual size of the Tiny King) lives in a very big kingdom where, despite his riches, he just can't enjoy himself. There's too much food at the table, his horse is too big, and his bathtub is too big to enjoy on his own. So is his very big bed. Most nights he is so sad and lonely that he doesn't sleep well. The background on all the pages for the lonely Tiny King are black, emphasizing the emptiness of his life despite the many soldiers who guard his enormous, building block-like castle.

Then, one day, the Tiny King falls in love with a big princess and asks her to be his queen. Soon, there are lots and lots of children and the happy Tiny King sends his soldiers home to be with their families. The dinner table is always full and plates are always emptied now and bath time is "a real riot!" This illustration is hilarious and I wish I had it to share here, but the big Queen, the Tiny King and the little kids are so silly and strange that you can't help but laugh and enjoy yourself almost as much as the Tiny King. And, I guess if you really feel the need to tease a moral out of this story, it can be that companions are more precious than possessions as well as the old saw, "the more, the merrier!"

Source: Review Copy

Thinking about books and things that grabbed my attention as a little kid and seem somewhat strange in this day and age, here is a favorite old Sesame Street clip that I will never forget. Enjoy!


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…