Anyone who has ever dreaded a splinter extraction will identify with King Kenrick, who tries hard not to cry when he jumps out of bed one morning and discovers a splinter in his big toe. Though the king initially declines the queen's assistance (she is at the ready with a needle and tweezers), he eventually concedes that he may need some help if he is to lead the Hero's Day parade and agrees to let the cook's Uncle Archibald have a go at it. Quite the tease, this eccentric fellow arrives with a bag full of tools-pliers for holding the toe, an ice pick for finding the splinter and a saw "in case we can't get it out and have to amputate." Derby and Gore, who teamed up for last spring's Jacob and the Stranger, are a good match. While the components of its plot are wildly exaggerated, the tale itself is subtly comforting. The lighthearted art, peopled with daffy caricatures, radiates sunny colors-and a keen sense of humor. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)
K-Gr 1On the morning of the Hero's Day Parade, King Kenrick gets a painful splinter in his big toe. He says it will come out by itself, but the bossy queen insists that the cook's uncle take it out. First Uncle Archibald prepares his toolspliers for holding the toe, an ice pick for finding the splinter, and a saw in case he ``has to amputate.'' The actual removal is so fast that the king doesn't notice it. Later, when he leads the parade, he feels like ``a brave hero himself.'' Unattractive illustrations accompany the story. Elaborately costumed people and comic-operetta backgrounds are painted in shining acrylics. The characters are unappealingthe pathetic, fearful king; the overbearing queen; and the flippant Uncle Archibald. Worst of all, the book's cover and most of the pages are bathed in an unpleasant orange-red glow. Children who fear this common procedure will not be soothed by this demeaning tale.Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
As luck would have it, King Kenrick wakes up with a painful splinter under his big toe on the very day he is to lead the Hero's Day Parade. "It will come out by itself if we wait" is his cowardly response. Unfortunately, his overbearing queen points out that waiting will mean finding someone else to head the parade, the unspoken message being that if he's not brave enough to have a splinter removed, he may not be worthy to lead. The story is told with humor, wit, and compassion, and anyone who has ever had a splinter removed will sympathize with the king as he bravely undergoes the process. The twofold message is sound: even powerful people get scared, and it's by facing our fears that we become truly deserving. Glowing watercolor illustrations, richly detailed in warm, vibrant colors, add to the royal atmosphere and bring the whimsical characters to life.