The King Who Barked

Overview

Young readers will delight in this whimsically illustrated picture book detailing the surprising history of eminent animals!

Meet the animals who ruled. There was Incitatus the horse, who was made a consul in the Roman Empire. Then there was Saur, a dog declared king during the days of the Vikings, who signed decrees with his paw. And one can't forget Pigasus, nominated as presidential candidate by a group of Vietnam War protestors, or Clay ...

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Overview

Young readers will delight in this whimsically illustrated picture book detailing the surprising history of eminent animals!

Meet the animals who ruled. There was Incitatus the horse, who was made a consul in the Roman Empire. Then there was Saur, a dog declared king during the days of the Vikings, who signed decrees with his paw. And one can't forget Pigasus, nominated as presidential candidate by a group of Vietnam War protestors, or Clay Henry the goat, who became mayor of a small Texas town. The government truly has gone to the dogs—and to the rhinos and elephants too!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Oliver
In this highly entertaining picture book, author Jones takes us on a trip around the world to explore governments that have gone to the dogs—and to the cats, monkey, pigs ... even a rhino. In fifteen short accounts organized by continent, we learn the stories of canine kings, titled cats and princely elephants, among others. The stories range in timeframe from the 40 C.E. story of Incitatus, a favorite racehorse of the Emperor Caligula who lived in a marble stable and was attended to by eighteen servants to the 1993 election of golden retriever named Shanda as the mayor of Guffey, Colorado. She was "a politician who really listened, although she did not return phone calls." These tongue-in-cheek stories, some documented more thoroughly than others, all contain an underlying theme that points to people's frustrations with government and government officials, while still entertaining young readers. Yayo's wonderful illustrations, created with acrylics on canvas, are sure crowd pleasers with their vibrant colors and childlike construction. Observant readers will find small delights in the illustrations, such as one of Ethiopia's Dog-King that shows him sitting on his throne drooling over an umbrella-sporting cat and another that shows a Rio de Janeiro's monkey mayoral candidate's banana microphone. Entertaining and informative, this book is an excellent addition to all libraries. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—The brief accounts in this whimsical collection of animal anecdotes introduce symbolic leaders such as goat mayors, dog-kings, and a rhinoceros who won a seat on the São Paulo city council in a write-in campaign. The stories, which are arranged by continent of origin, hail from legends and oral histories, though some are more recent and better documented. Yayo's acrylic-on-canvas paintings capture the topsy-turvy spirit of the tales and add playful details: a dog-king proudly leads a procession carrying a bone scepter; an elegant cat, appointed a lady-in-waiting in Imperial Japan, wears a kimono adorned with koi fish. Animal lovers will find this a fascinating diversion, even as it slyly plants ideas about government and leaders. For example, residents of a Colorado town observed that their cat mayor was "a politician who really listened, although she did not return phone calls." For a more comprehensive look at the history of humans and pets, see Sheila Keenan's enjoyable Animals in the House (Scholastic, 2007).—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Politics may be closely linked to monkey business in the minds of many, but a real monkey for mayor? How did that happen? Jones humorously retells 15 tales of animals that in one way or another functioned as rulers throughout the world. Many of these stories have been passed down through generations; it is difficult to tell how much is actually true. But the author does not shy away from modern examples as well. In a whirlwind trip across the globe, readers meet a horse from the Roman Empire that dined on flakes of gold, a Chinese Pekingese that won a top literary honor and Pigasus, the pig the Chicago Seven tried to nominate as a U.S. presidential candidate-to have his very own in-hoguration, of course. With bright acrylics and proportions stretched as far as the imagination needed to believe these tales, Yayo's illustrations add to the whimsy and fun. After reading this fantastical romp, the family pet just may take its rightful place at the head of the household. (introduction, bibliography, index) (Informational picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823419258
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlotte Foltz Jones (1945-2007) was known for her informative nonfiction for children. The Horn Book said her Westward Ho! was "a wealth of fascinating history," while Kirkus Reviews called it "excellent."

Yayo is a native of Colombia and immigrated to Montreal in 1987. His art has been exhibited all over the world. He illustrated Keeper of Soles by Teresa Bateman, which was an ALA Notable Children's Book, a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book.

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