Kirkus Star


Email this review


Three witty, warming tales of King Henry: a clever old dear and, for youngsters, a brand-new charmer. Because he is ""a very nice king,"" the cook, the gardener, and the servants do their best for him; because he has ""such a nice, happy little palace,"" wicked King Boris (""who lived in a nasty, unhappy palace"") covets it; because Henry is clever--and Boris isn't--King Henry's ten guards (successively hoisting flags, drums, pipes swords, pistols) pass muster as hundreds. . . and frighten off Boris' horde. Episode II: ""It was King Henry's birthday and the cook decided to bake a special cake for him."" However, the gardener, the servants, and the soldiers make off first with the cook's cherries (""nice cherries,"" ""very good cherries,"" ""excellent cherries""), and then with his nuts; so King Henry will have pancakes for his birthday--which he shares, of course, with the gardener, the servants, and the soldiers (""Very nice. . . ,"" ""Very good. . . ,"" ""Excellent pancakes""). ""'They were,' said the cook, looking at the empty plate."" Episode III? ""King Henry's Christmas Present""--wherein the gardener, the cook, the servants, the guards (doing what doesn't come naturally) make King Henry a bench that collapses--which he, with his kindly quick-wittedness, hails as a long-wanted sled. And while the sledding proceeds by turns, the gardener fetches a tree, the servants set the table and decorate the tree. . . until, the feast assembled, ""they all went in to eat it."" Style, snap, high-seasoned colors, memorable lines, stage-worthy structuring--and a gentlemanly king: a great thing to set by the small thing of Hutchins' memorable debut, Rosie's Walk.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 1983
Publisher: Greenwillow