A pint-sized king’s boredom and his easy access to a wizard result in a series of messes.
Dark-skinned Jasper’s got quite the life: ruling from a throne of pillows, eating ice cream every afternoon, reading and coloring. But one day he wants something more. His solution is to ask the white wizard for a dragon—excitement personified. The wizard’s not too sure, but since Jasper is the king, “poof!” Excitement comes with a trail of fires it leaves in its wake. The robots the wizard calls forth to stamp out the fires only wreak more havoc, and the superheroes summoned to rein in the robots raise jealousy among the kingdom’s kids when they see Jasper being flown about. An army of kittens is surely the answer. They do stop the kids’ wailing but cause other problems, especially with Janey, a white girl with allergies. She does help Jasper realize, though, that perhaps the something more he was searching for was a friend, though Snyder never makes this message overt; kids may miss it, especially since they will be wondering why a king with a wizard is cleaning up the mess by hand. Damant’s illustrations portray a diverse cast with wide eyes that lack eyelids, giving the people a manic look, and the kittens will have adults imagining candy-colored Felix the Cats.
Skip this tale of wish fulfilment gone wrong. (Picture book. 4-8)