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King and King Hardcover – March 1, 2003

4 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When a grouchy queen tells her layabout son that it's time for him to marry, he sighs, "Very well, Mother.... I must say, though, I've never cared much for princesses." His young page winks. Several unsatisfactory bachelorettes visit the castle before "Princess Madeleine and her brother, Prince Lee" appear in the doorway. The hero is smitten at once. "What a wonderful prince!" he and Prince Lee both exclaim, as a shower of tiny Valentine hearts flutters between them. First-time co-authors and artists de Hann and Nijland matter-of-factly conclude with the royal wedding of "King and King," the page boy's blushing romance with the leftover princess and the assurance that "everyone lives happily ever after." Unfortunately, the multimedia collages are cluttered with clashing colors, amorphous paper shapes, scribbles of ink and bleary brushstrokes; the characters' features are indistinct and sometimes ugly. Despite its gleeful disruption of the boy-meets-girl formula, this alterna-tale is not the fairest of them all. For a visually appealing and more nuanced treatment of diversity in general, Kitty Crowther's recent Jack and Jim is a better choice. Ages 6-up.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grades 3-5--In this postmodern fractured fairy tale, a worn-out and badly beleaguered Queen is ready for retirement. After many hours of nagging, the crown prince, who "never cared much for princesses," finally caves in and agrees to wed in order to ascend the throne. Their search for a suitable bride extends far and wide, but none of the eligible princesses strikes the Prince's fancy, until Princess Madeleine shows up. The Prince is immediately smitten- with her brother, Prince Lee. The wedding is "very special," the Queen settles down on a chaise lounge in the sun, and everyone lives happily ever after. Originally published in the Netherlands, this is a commendable fledgling effort with good intentions toward its subject matter. Unfortunately, though, the book is hobbled by thin characterization and ugly artwork; the homosexual prince comes across as fragile and languid, while the dour, matronly queen is a dead ringer for England's Victoria at her aesthetic worst. Some of the details in the artwork are interesting, including the "crown kitty" performing antics in the periphery. However, that isn't enough to compensate for page after page of cluttered, disjointed, ill-conceived art. The book does present same-sex marriage as a viable, acceptable way of life within an immediately recognizable narrative form, the fairy tale. However, those looking for picture books about alternative lifestyles may want to keep looking for a barrier-breaking classic on the subject.
Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tricycle Press (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582460612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582460611
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Although I had an amazing childhood, and amazing parents, a book like this in my school's library would have added to my self acceptance as a gay boy. For the people who are concerned that schools shouldn't carry this and that parents should explain homosexuality to their children, sometimes the parents don't explain or accept it soon enough. I know this book would have and will help a lot of children if put in school libraries.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to help with my grandchildren. They have a Gay Uncle and I wanted to help make them understand. The book was an opening for a conversation that answered some questions they had. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a child that is curious.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Valley Gay Press Book Reviewer: Liz Bradbury (Author of Angel Food and Devil Dogs - A Maggie Gale Mystery)
Like many fairytales of yore, this one deals with the current ruling monarch trying to marry off the next generation in order to pass along the thrown. In "King and King," the Queen wants her son the Prince to get married, whether he wants to or not. "Why, by the time I was your age, I'd been married twice already," she exclaims at him in exasperation.

She invites a series of princesses with a variety of diverse talents (opera singing, juggling etc.) to meet her son and commands him to pick one. Instead, he chooses the brother of one of the princesses and it's love at first sight. They marry and "everyone lives happily ever after." The post wedding kiss, is covered by a red heart.

The book is 32 pages, with very few words per page. It's illustrated in a cut-out collage style with bright colors and funny line drawings. According to editorial notes, its written at a 4 to 8-year-old reading level. This story presents a same-sex attraction and union in a sweet and child-like way. Its story line is direct and playful. And the out come is presented in a matter-of-fact way.

In this plot, the mother wants the son to conform to social norms and tradition. The son rebels and chooses love over the pressure of his family. And fairly quickly, the mother (and the rest of the Kingdom) comes around, and they live happily ever after.

This is the perfect book for supportive, tolerant families to use to be sure their young children know from the start that they will be accepted if they are gay or lesbian.
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Format: Hardcover
After hearing about this book recommended on a parenting website, I was hoping to find a clever story that presented this topic in a manner that was dignified and accessible for young children. The cover at least looked cute. Too bad the rest of the art was hideous to look at.

But the ugly illustrations are just one of many problems with this book.

Frankly, I'm disappointed in how this story played out. The Prince doesn't WANT to marry at first. Instead, he is bullied into it by an overbearing nagging mother. Plus, most of the story was centered around the princesses he didn't choose because he didn't like their singing or their arms were too long or something else weird. Then he just falls in love with the first prince that walks through the door and decides to marry him just like that. I realize that "love at first sight" is a trope in a lot of older fairy tales, but too many Disney films are criticized for the medieval idea of having a girl just fall for the first prince she sees without a single thought to compatibility or personality. Is this tired cliche something the author really wants to continue?

This story could have been written a lot better. Why not have the Prince actually wanting to look for love (not just going through the motions to get his mom to shut up)? How about a parent who is understanding and supportive and not just a shrill harpy? How about the Prince meets another prince and gets to know him, THEN fall in love (you know, like people in real life do)?

I guess if you are struggling to find such picture books to introduce to young children, you may feel it necessary add it to your library. I for one found "And Tango Makes Three" a much better read (with the added bonus of having illustrations that didn't make my eyeballs bleed).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cute story with a twist...The prince does not want to marry a girl, he wants to marry a boy. Such a charming story that allows those children who are in gay families or that may be gay themselves the opportunity to identify with a story about finding true love. Here the queen is trying to get her son married. She brings in many suitable girls for the prince to consider. He isn't interested in anyone...until he spots his true love! There is nothing here but a cute...fairytale story. I would have given it 5 stars, but the illustrations are really not my favorite. I thought they took away from the book and did not add to it. The story itself, is a keeper!
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Format: Hardcover
I would not mind my daughter reading a book with LGBT themes as I want her to be open and respectful to different ideas, beliefs and choices and books can be very useful to help kids learn and understand. However, this book would be the worst way to introduce LGBT themes to a young kid. It would not even be OK if your kid has heard/seen LGBT themes before. Doesn't explain anything, just insults female characters. Illustration also looks weird as characters look mean. It can create negative feelings toward LGBT especially for a kid who grows up watching and reading princess/prince love stories.
They could have done a lot better. For example, why not show a prince who has many beautiful, smart, good female friends that he loves but only as a friend and show that he wants to fall in love but he can't, or show a mom who still loves and respects his son after his decision to marry another guy. Queen does not say anything negative at the end, but there is no emphasis on acceptance or love either.
In summary, although I believe the intention is good, I do not recommend this book unless you do not mind your child having negative feelings toward LGBT individuals.
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