The King's Taster

( 2 )

Overview

Max is the cook's dog. And because he is also the king's taster, Max gets to feast on:

French Fries!

Rose Pudding!

Cheese Pie!

Pizza!

No wonder Max loves his job. Who wouldn't want to dine on these delicious dishes? The new king, that's who. And if the new king has his way, it won't just be their job that ...

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Overview

Max is the cook's dog. And because he is also the king's taster, Max gets to feast on:

French Fries!

Rose Pudding!

Cheese Pie!

Pizza!

No wonder Max loves his job. Who wouldn't want to dine on these delicious dishes? The new king, that's who. And if the new king has his way, it won't just be their job that the cook and Max lose!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Why won’t the new king eat the cook’s magnificent food? Max, the cheery, bespectacled hound who narrates the story, used to taste the king’s food to test for poison; now he spends most of his time consoling the cook. In an attempt to satisfy the fussy king—a small boy with a wobbly crown and a horrible scowl—Max and the cook travel the world in search of the rarest delicacies—French fries, pizza, chili tacos—to no avail. When Max discovers the king snacking on the sly, ruining his appetite, he alerts the cook. “I will tell your mother,” the cook promises the small king. “You wouldn’t,” replies the king. “I would,” says the cook, “and I will.” With the boy finally “eating like a king,” success and reward for the cook and his dog follow. Oppel (Airborn) cooks up punchy, ready-for-television dialogue, while the rich, textural spreads of Johnson and Fancher (What a Good Big Brother) make use of unexpected materials—recipe cards for the cook’s clothing, for instance—and kid-pleasing details, as when the king splatters a whole pizza against a wall via catapult. Ages 3–6. (June)
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Almost every parent has faced the frustration of having a child refuse not just healthy foods but favorites like pizza and chili because they have filled up on candy! Oppel approaches the problem with a light-hearted touch of fantasy. Max the dog is the king's taster, which means he gets all the food refused by the small boy who is said to be the king. In attempts to entice him, the cook and Max travel all over the world from France to Italy to Mexico to learn about each country's signature dishes. In the end, Max and the cook discover the "king's" candy filching habit and threat of exposure is enough to turn the boy into a consumer. Johnson and Fancher are a husband and wife team whose painted type illustrations carry out the playful tone of the book. Many of the pictures include cleverly integrated type face—the cook's pillow for example, is covered with faintly visible recipe cards. This book might be just right for opening up discussions about nutrition in homes and classrooms. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Being the royal food taster is a treat for Max the dog-until the arrival of a new monarch. Suddenly the cook's delectable meals don't cut it anymore-this king is a picky little boy. Max and the cook travel extensively, looking for new recipes for the temperamental royal, but French fries, tacos, and even pizza are rejected. Soon Max discovers that the king isn't eating because he is gorging himself on sweets every night. Mystery solved, the boy eats, and the cook's life is saved. Oppel's writing is lush: "...and in the Piazza San Marco, we learned of fabulous breads and herbs, sausages and cheeses." Kids will be familiar with the foods Max and the cook discover around the world, but their curiosity will be piqued when they read about peacock, venison, syllabub, and rose puddings. The illustrations were done with a layered mix of acrylic and collage with liberal use of handwritten and printed recipes as backgrounds to create the rich and textured art. Astute children will see the conclusion coming-the king has chocolate wrappers peeking out of his crown throughout the story.-Laura Lutz, Queens Borough Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Narrated by a bespectacled beagle, Oppel's pedantic offering mixes a "be your authentic self" vibe with an admonishment not to spoil your appetite with sweets. "I'm the king's taster, but I'm the cook's dog," says Max. When the new boy-king rebuffs Cook's efforts, Max and Cook undertake a series of overnight travels in search of delectably palatable recipes to tempt his majesty. The forays yield predictable but tempting results: fries from France, pizza from Venice (not Napoli?) and "chili tacos" from Mexico, all summarily rejected-and ejected-by the bratty king. Once ratted out (thanks to Max) for eating those appetite-suppressing sweets, the king becomes a convert to Cook's cuisine. "Ask me for anything . . . and it shall be yours!" he raves. Accordingly, the last spread depicts both Cook's dream-come-true and the story arc's conclusion, with Cook and Max outside their own eatery, a pub called "The King's Taster." Workmanlike collages by the accomplished Fancher and Johnson combine textiles, scrawled recipes and painterly elements in a muted, Old World palette that matches the ambitious plotting. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060753726
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 591,729
  • Age range: 6 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: AD520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

KENNETH OPPEL is the Governor General’s Award–winning author of the Airborn series and the Silverwing Saga, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. His most recent novels are Half Brother, winner of both the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the Young Adult Book Award; This Dark Endeavour, finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award; and Such Wicked Intent, finalist for the CLA Young Adult Book Award. Canada’s nominated author for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award, he lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

WEB:KENNETHOPPEL.CA
FACEBOOK: KENNETH OPPEL
TWITTER: @KENNETHOPPEL

Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher are an illustration team with more than forty picture books in print. Their work has garnered rave reviews and won awards. Their books include My Many Colored Days, Bebop Express, I Walk at Night, New York's Bravest, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The Salamander Room. They were also concept artists for Pixar's Toy Story and A Bug's Life. They live in California with their son.

Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher are an illustration team with more than forty picture books in print. Their work has garnered rave reviews and won awards. Their books include My Many Colored Days, Bebop Express, I Walk at Night, New York's Bravest, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The Salamander Room. They were also concept artists for Pixar's Toy Story and A Bug's Life. They live in California with their son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The King's Taster is a lesson for learning to explore new things (and not spoiling your dinner with candy bars).

    Kids love to spoil their dinner. It is a natural law or something. I remember I loved to do it to avoid things like peas and spinach. While the avoidance rule still holds for those two veggies, this book illustrates the problem of trying to feed a fussy child who just won't eat. All parents will identify with this story and all kids need to hear it. Try everything once. Explore new tastes.

    I think we all wish we had a cook like the one in this story. The illustrations are great. The dog is cute and the lesson well worth the read. Perfect for classrooms, preschool storytime or bedtime.

    I will recommend this to friends and customers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

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