The New King

The New King

by Doreen Rappaport, Earl Lewis

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A thoughtful folktale from Madagascar and spare, painterly watercolors affectingly cohere in this compassionate book about a boy's encounter with death. When his father the king is killed on a hunt, the crown prince-the ``new king''-commands assorted court potentates to revive him. When they are unable to help, the vexed child consults the Wise Woman, who teaches him about death and immortality with a parable about ``the first human couple,'' who were given a choice between renewal (``dying like the moon'') or enabling a new generation (``dying like the banana tree''). Rappaport's (The Journey of Meng) seemingly straightforward narrative is infused with strong emotional currents. (She notes, in fact, that the prince's passage through grief is based upon the writings of Elisabeth Kbler-Ross). Lewis's (Fire on the Mountain) unadorned illustrations, featuring strong, emotive faces and striking native garb, focus the attention squarely on the characters. Ages 5-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Young Prince Rakoto is devastated to learn of his father's untimely death while on a hunt. Struggling with his grief, he tries to get the Royal Doctor and Imperial Wizard to bring his father back to life. Each replies that he cannot do that even if commanded to do so. When he visits Wise Woman, she tells him a story of the first couple and of the cycle of life and death, and how men and women live on forever in the lives of their descendants. A poignant and powerful message illustrated with touching and expressive watercolor art.
Hazel Rochman
A well-known Malagasy tale from Madagascar is the center of a universal story of grief and renewal. "Father is dead. Now you are king," the small prince, Rakoto, is told. But he can't accept the sudden death of his beloved father. As he goes through the stages of denial, anger, and guilt, a Wise Woman tells him a story that helps him finally to accept his loss. Rakoto sees he must rule and pass on his father's lessons of love and justice. As in Lewis' illustrations for Mollel's "Big Boy" , the light-filled watercolors show the spacious African landscape and also the intense feelings of individual people. The emotions are strong, and the understated paintings of the boy trying to get answers from his community and the natural world express his sorrow and connection.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
10.88(w) x 8.78(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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