A king learns that bigger isn’t always better in 13-year-old writer and illustrator Kahn’s debut children’s book
After accepting a piece of fruit from a mysterious stranger, a king awakens to find himself shrunken to a height of three inches. To save his kingdom, he will have to fight the evil sorcerer Sinerious, whose enchanted trees have knocked down the palace walls and spread over the land. To make matters worse, a bird swoops down and snatches up the miniscule king, carrying him off in its beak. It’s up to the royal family and loyal advisers to save his highness. Khan doesn’t oversimplify his hero’s plight. Out in the world, the king finds that his diminished size isn’t as limiting as he initially thought. Being tiny, he can hide from certain predators, such as the crocodile that unwittingly delivers him safely to shore on its snout after the bird drops his majesty in the river. Kahn’s illustrations are few, but his style is bright and expressive, if simply rendered; a flock of birds fills the moonlit sky as the king’s courtier takes a lonely walk up a hill to escape a giant and find the rest of his party. When the evil sorcerer reveals his true purpose for leveling the kingdom, the work takes on surprisingly political undertones, even more so when the evil sorcerer meets a grizzly end. Through it all, Khan weaves a compelling tale, with a vocabulary worthy of an SAT exam. Elementary school teachers might keep a copy of this book handy as an example of how to construct a fictional narrative, though Khan’s younger readers, whom he addresses in his forward, might have to wait a few grades to be able to get through all of his densely written text.
This imaginative, well-crafted story is hopefully the first of many from its precocious young author