The author of Stargone John (1990), a perceptive, realistic story about a misunderstood 19th-century boy, offers an old-fashioned fantasy about a king who is so greedy that he devotes himself to admiring the treasures he keeps in his solitary tower--and about the warm-hearted tinker whose simple wisdom has the effect of reuniting the king with his daughter, the Princess Sweet Rosilla. For years, nobody has been allowed to look at King John, not even his children; only sensible Rosilla has secretly disobeyed. Then as King John is taking one of his rare forays to view his kingdom, his crown falls off when his coach hits a bump; the tinker picks it up, thinking it must be an odd sort of pot, and is soon mistaken for the king--everyone has forgotten what he looks like. Though both tell the truth, no one knows what to believe; the eldest prince receives the crown, leaving former King John to enjoy getting acquainted with Rosilla, who knows perfectly well who he is. The obvious message about true worth is nicely integrated into a competently written, briskly moving tale with engaging characters and pleasing if mild humor. It doesn't have the rich texture or marvelous humor of E. Nesbit's stories, but it could start readers in her direction. An entertaining, easily read chapter book.