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King Matt the First Paperback – October 15, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
The first English translation, brought out by Roy Publishing, was one of the joys of my childhood. I was lucky - a decade or so later I wrote to the librarian at the library where I had checked it out so often in childhood - I wanted the publishing information so I could look for it - and she sent me the book! It is one of my cherished possessions, and I bless that dear librarian always. I like to write, and Januzs Korczak is one of my primary influences, others being C.S. Lewis and Francis Hodgson Burnett (for stories about children who become kings or queens). If you can't read King Matt's story, I recommend those authors, and also E. Nesbit, Connie Willis, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, R.A. MacAvoy, James Blaylock... This list could go on forever, but I will always think it imperfect as long as Korczak cannot be at the top because his stories are unavailable in English.
Lourie's translation gives more of a European flavor to the story; the earlier translation is softer, and it appears that some detail was omitted. My guess is that the earlier translators wanted to present an impression of the story that did not show as much of the sad, or the tongue-in-cheek, quality of the original, because the Polish people were then under occupation by the Nazis. I rather wish Lourie would translate the sequel, and that both books would stay in print in English FOREVER.
I have read "King Matt" 5 times over the last 45 years. I am excited about this new translation and I am looking forward to reading it again! I'd only wish that the second volume "King Matt on a Deserted Island", was available, too.
This is a deep book; underneath the exciting adventures of the little king, it offers a deeply penetrating, child's eye view of our world: Monarchy versus democracy, the upper v. lower class, differences between cultures and countries, the cunningness and hypocrisy of both domestic and international politics, the bureaucracy, racial relations, relations between children and adults, children's rights, boys v. girls, both the value and the absurdities of traditions and customs and just about every other aspect of life.
The second volume, "Matt on a Deserted Island", is unique among children's books. As the little king isolated on a deserted island, spends time alone, reading, writing, thinking, and growing wiser. This volume too is beautiful and full of love and surprising adventures. Unlike most "deep" books for adults, "King Matt" is remains a thriller even as it writes about deep introspection and contemplation of the meaning of life and death, love, friendship, togetherness and aloneness.
At the end, after many spellbinding adventures, Matt returns to his own country, where he establishes democracy.
To me the great value of this book is that it does not offer any answers. It does not promote any belief systems, religion, or values. Instead it opens up an existential inquiry and encourages the readers to think and find their own answers!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the greatest books of all time. Highly recommended for grades 4-8.Published 1 month ago by Lissa Parker
WARNING: MAJOR FLAW IN THIS EDITION
What a great book! But copies of this edition are sadly flawed:
The first printing of this reprint by Algonquin Books... Read more
I was intrigued by the earlier reviewers who called this a great, classic children's book. It is unique in my experience of children's literature and I would agree that it is a... Read morePublished 6 months ago by pogonia
This book was assigned reading for my child this year. While my six-year-old said she liked the book, by the time we got the end, I was glad it was over. Read morePublished 15 months ago by biogeek
I read this book aloud to my 10 year old daughters. They're bright and it led to some really neat discussions about politics and cultures. I wish the author had written more!! Read morePublished on July 10, 2014 by Faye
The great flaw of this book is the beliefs it promotes on race and ethnicity. There are some intensely bigoted and flawed opinions expressed by the author through the characters... Read morePublished on June 6, 2014 by KAC
I thought I would give this to my grandson but decided to read it first. Once I got to the canablisim I decided not to give it to him. Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by Susanne W.
I recommend this book to anyone who can read it. It is a great book, though the implied sequel leaves readers hanging.Published on February 16, 2014 by Anonymous