The King's Equal

The King's Equal

3.3 3
by Katherine Paterson, Curtis Woodbridge

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Who is she?

A dying king makes his son his heir—on one condition. Vain Prince Raphael must marry a woman who is his equal in beauty, intelligence, and wealth...

Where is this woman?

A search throughout the kingdom proves fruitless. Then the lovely Rosamund appears at the palace, as if by magic, and Raphael


Who is she?

A dying king makes his son his heir—on one condition. Vain Prince Raphael must marry a woman who is his equal in beauty, intelligence, and wealth...

Where is this woman?

A search throughout the kingdom proves fruitless. Then the lovely Rosamund appears at the palace, as if by magic, and Raphael is certain he has found his wife. She is intelligent and wealthy, as well as beautiful—certainly his equal, he thinks.

But what does the mysterious Rosamund think?

Two-time Newbery Medalist Katherine Patersons critically-acclaimed original fairy tale about an arrogant prince and his search for a bride is now available in a reformatted chapter book edition. With beautiful new line art by Curtis Woodbridge, this provocative story with a contemporary social message (The New York Times Book Review) will become an instant classic for newly independent readers. An entertaining and enchanting story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW starred this "entertaining and enchanting" story of a conceited prince in search of a bride who is his equal, and who then discovers he is the one who must prove his worthiness. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Novels that speak to all ages are satisfying books for family reading. Equality finds fairy tale expression in Paterson's The King's Equal. Raphael is a greedy, egotistical prince whose inheritance rests on finding a woman whose beauty, intelligence and wealth match his own. Welcome Rosamund who is greater than his equal! Raphael learns and then proves his love through humility, honesty, and hard work. The mysticism, the author's splendid word choices, and the dedicated design and detailing by Vagin elevate the principle of equality to new heights.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-- Finding a princess who is the ``king's equal'' in comeliness, intelligence, and wealth is an order that confounds the wisest, most loyal councilors in this distant realm. Finding a book equal in quality and brilliance to this one is an even more formidable task. Paterson weaves her story within the structure of familiar fairy tales; she includes romance, repetition of language, the number three, and a moral of goodness and love triumphing over selfishness and greed. Her careful attention to the beauty and variety of descriptive language is evident on every page. The story gains dimension with the inclusion of ``the Wolf.'' At first glimpse, he seems a menacing, negative force, but he is revealed ultimately to be the purveyor of magic, and even the perfect matchmaker. He never intrudes upon court life in the capital city, but remains in his remote mountain lair, an enigmatic character to ponder at the story's end. Vagin's illustrations are exquisite, luminous in color, clarity, and precision. Readers are drawn into the courtly world of a wealthy kingdom through details of costume, architecture, furniture, and decorations. Because there are six chapters, the book is a lengthy read-aloud. This is, however, no drawback; young listeners will be a spellbound and appreciative audience, and should want to return to the book again and again. --Martha Rosen, Edgewood School, Scarsdale, NY

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Trophy Chapter Bks.
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.18(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Many years ago in a country far away, an old king lay dying. Now the king was very wise and very good, and all the people loved him, so they were sad to know that he would soon leave them. But what made them even sadder was the knowledge that the king's son, Prince Raphael, would become their next ruler.

Prince Raphael was as rich and handsome as a prince should be. His father had assembled scholars from all over the world to teach him, so he was highly educated. The people should have been proud to have Raphael as their next king, but instead they were afraid.

"Look at his eyes," they said, "and see the arrogance of a man who admires only himself."

"Look at his mouth," they said, "and see the sneer of a man who thinks everyone else is stupid."

"Look at his hands," they said, "and see the grasp of a man who thinks everyone else's goods are his for the taking."

The old king, even while he was dying, understood the fears of his people. Just before the end, he called his son and all the councilors of the realm to come to his chamber.

"My son," he said, "with my last words, I want to give you my blessing."

"Well, of course," said Raphael, although he was far more interested in his father's lands and gold than he was in the good king's last words.

"You will become ruler when I die," the old king said, "for that is the ancient law that cannot be changed. But you will not wear my crown until the day you marry a woman who is your equal in beauty and intelligence and wealth."

The prince was angry at his father's words. "That is not a blessing!" he exclaimed. "That is a curse! Where shall I find aprincess who is equal to me in every way?" Raphael demanded that the king take back this strange blessing. But the king shook his head, and that very night he breathed his last breath and died.

Prince Raphael was so angry that he refused to mourn his father's death. When the councilors suggested that the flags be lowered and that the people be given time off from their work for the funeral, he was angrier still. "There will be plenty of time for holiday when I am crowned king," he said. "Tell the people to get back to work."

With heavy hearts the councilors announced there would be no period of mourning for the beloved old king. The only comfort they had was that Raphael might never be crowned. For where would such an arrogant man find a woman he would admit was his equal in every way?

Meet the Author

Curtis Woodbridge has illustrated numerous book covers and audio packages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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The King's Equal 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fairy tale with a prince in need of help, a bright and kind young girl and a bit of magic -- excellent combination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cute story for smaller children. Nice plot and character.