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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Louis I, King of the Sheep, written and illustrated by Olivier Tallec. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2015. $24.95 ages 4 and up

"Louis I also told himself
that a good king should
address his people from time
to time.
Other than that, he would
spend his time hunting,
chasing after deer, wild boars
and, above all, lions.
But since there were no lions
in his kingdom, he would have
them brought to him ... "

Oh, what awesome power is granted to those who wear a crown! At least, from one perspective. With that in mind, readers are witness to the acquisition of such power. Louis, one of the flock, is in the right place at the right time when the wind blows a blue crown his way. He soon plants it upon his own head.

It is all the incentive Louis needs to make a name for himself ... Louis I, King of the Sheep. He takes his position very seriously and is soon wielding his power at every turn. First, he stands on his two hind legs, affording him a heightened place in the flock. Once he has assumed that regal stance, he feels the need to possess other articles of power. With these in place, he becomes the royal he was always meant to be.

As often happens, it takes no time at all for the power he has afforded himself to go to his head.

"But first and foremost, Louis decided,
he must bring order to his kingdom.
So he commanded his people to
march behind him in sheep step.
Next Louis decided that only the sheep
who resembled him could live at his side.
The others must be driven out."

It is only through great good luck (and a bit of a turn in the weather) that Louis I soon loses the crown that came to him so easily. Who will be the next king?

Olivier Tallec creates attention-grabbing spreads, then adds hand lettering to tell his story and make the book's design very appealing for all who will share it.  Readers will giggle at the other sheep as they take little notice of their monarch.  It's funny, and it's a thoughtful study of the fleeting nature of power.

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