In this companion to the similarly eco-themed Mr. King’s Things (2012), a lion-turned–real estate developer recklessly undermines his own foundations.
Fixed on expanding his house into a “BIG castle” since he likes “BIG things,” Mr. King chips block-shaped pieces from the surrounding BIG hill to build battlements and colonnades. By the time he’s finished his project, there’s nothing left of the hill beneath but a few tiny green snippets floating in white space. Rather than letting gravity take over or moving her tale in some other, more realistic direction, Côté opts for, in essence, a do-over. Feeling “very small” at seeing the hill’s other animal residents gathered to protest the loss of grass, flowers and habitat, Mr. King joins in to reassemble the cutout pieces back into seamless slopes. There’s even a leftover block suitable for a smaller building project, so everyone gets to come away satisfied. Done in crayon and thin, streaked tissue collage, the brightly lit illustrations feature flat geometric shapes and smiling (before and after, at least), simply drawn cartoon figures.
Much lightened by its upbeat resolution, a cautionary but not strident discussion starter about responsible resource allocation. (Picture book. 4-7)