THE KING'S EQUAL by Katherine Paterson

THE KING'S EQUAL

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

On his deathbed, the wise old king decrees that his arrogant son will not inherit the crown until he marries "a woman who is your equal in beauty and intelligence and wealth." Angry, and misunderstanding this "blessing," Prince Raphael sets about impoverishing his people and rejecting a procession of princesses who may excel in one quality, but never in three. In the meantime, Rosamund, a shepherd lass, shares the last of her grain with a hungry (but gentle) wolf; magically, his presence replenishes the grain and he recognizes her as queen-to-be. He sends her to the palace, where her wisdom and compassion charm Raphael. Still, he must now prove himself to her: leaving Rosamund to put his kingdom to rights, he repairs to her hut, where the animals help him learn cooperation, competence, and humility. There's a lesson here, of course, but Paterson (unlike many who use folkloric motifs to project contemporary messages) shapes her tale with such grace, narrative skill, and good humor that the lesson is a pleasure. Vagin, a Russian introduced with Here Comes the Cat! (1989), offers sumptuous, elegantly detailed illustrations of the court, bordered in serene pastoral landscapes, in more muted colors, which also adorn chapter heads. A handsome book; an entertaining, thought-provoking story. (Fiction/Young reader. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-06-022496-7
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992




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