A mouse in the forest finds a crown and becomes king (for a bit) in this picture book.
The story opens with a wordless double-page spread—a great way to start a picture book when it works, and this one does. In soft-edged graphite with subtle digital coloring, Seiferling’s opening illustration shows a tricycle pulling a cart full of crowns, some of which are spilling out, instantly creating a magical ambiance. The page turn begins the text. A mouse wakes up hungry and, looking for food, finds a tiny crown. A bear ambles by and asks the mouse, “Are you a king?” The mouse thinks, then answers, “Yes, I am.” A crow, a tortoise, and a fox find the new king food and amuse him with a play. Just when readers think the mouse may be getting a bit full of himself, a snake shows up, also wearing a crown. The animals declare her queen. Then more crowns are found, and in a very funny bit, most of the rest of the animals declare themselves kings or queens. But the bear, unable to find a crown, wanders away disconsolate. The mouse goes to find him, realizing now that there is something much more important than being king. In lovely illustrative symmetry, the story ends perfectly with a wordless illustration.
Graceful and perceptive in both illustration and text, the timeless theme is particularly pertinent today. (Picture book. 3-8)