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Sunday, December 9, 2018

King Alice, by Matthew Cordell. Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2018. $23.50 ages 4 and up


Then the pirates came in their
big pirate car! Captain Bellyfish
walked around and said, "I'm
the toughest pirate on Earth!"
And the little pirate said, "No
more cookies? They you will
all eat fish, Knight Princesses,
and I won't say please! Walk the

Following up on the theme of imagination, today I want to share a book about Alice and the absolute joy she finds in spending a snow day ordering her father about as they play together. Alice has a regal presence from the moment her tired father arises, scratches his butt and becomes part of the brouhaha.

"Good morning, Sir Dad."
"Y-a-a-a-a-w-n ... Morning, Alice," said Dad.
"No! KING Alice! The First!" shouted Alice.
"You mean ... Queen?" asked Dad.
"No, KING!"
"Umm ... King," Dad said."

Obviously, they have had such days prior to this one. Alice wonders about returning to earlier pursuits ... 'super-sparkly strawberry muffins', a 'super-pretty' makeover for Dad. Dad is not keen. What about making a book together?

The book will be about King Alice, obviously! It's not a very long book ... one short chapter. Encouraged by her parents to expand on the initial premise, and with some added props, the story takes on a new life in a further chapter. Bored following this second chapter, King Alice is on to something else. Wait! An idea produces Chapter 5, skipping 3 and 4, and it's done before lunch! The snow day is continues following that. A bit too much enthusiasm lands her in the 'time-out' chair, followed by a return to calm and additional artwork.

What a family read this is! You will have great fun pouring over the illustrations and perhaps recognizing yourselves in some of its pages. Done with watercolor, colored pencil, markers, and pen and ink, it is indisputably Matthew Cordell having a great deal of fun while presenting what he knows about young children. It so honestly captures the chaos that can be part of the way families spend their days. It also offers humor and the supportive love parents provide when helping a young child toward independence.                                                                         

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