By: Gary Edwards
Illustrated by: Masako Dunn
Publisher: Cupola Press
Publication Date: January 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: January 2012
There once was a small but beautiful kingdom, where the birds sang, the deer ran joyfully through the fields, and a kind and very wise king ruled the people. The fields were full of lush, green grass, fresh water ran through the streams, and the apple trees produced the juiciest apples in all the land. People were happy and life was good.
When the king grew old and died, his people were sad but they knew that the king’s son, who had been taught well by the king, would do his best to rule the kingdom wisely. At his coronation party, he promised to carry on the good works of his father. The kingdom prospered and life was good.
One day, however, as the new king walked through the fields of his realm, he spotted several young children from a nearby kingdom eating apples from his favorite tree. The king scolded the children and sent them on their way. After they left, the king started thinking about his wonderful apple trees and, fearing for their safety, ordered a fence be built around his kingdom. The builders obediently erected a small stone fence around the entire kingdom and posted signs warning others to stay away.
While the fence protected the apple trees, the king soon noticed that his beloved deer jumped back and forth over his fence. Again he ordered his builders to get to work, this time increasing the height of the fence. With the improved fence, the animals would stay in the fields of the kingdom. The king was once again happy.
Soon, however, the king again discovered a problem. The birds could fly over the fence and the clouds could float above it. Would he ever be able to keep all that belonged to the kingdom within the confines of its walls? And if it was possible, what would happen once every person and every thing was kept within the walls?
The Kingdom of Mine is a delightful tale of what can happen when you try to keep all things you cherish safe and protected. It has the feel of an old-time fairytale, with lessons on every page. While the king’s intentions were good, he needed a lesson in sharing and in learning to use his power more wisely. At the same time, it was nice to see that he admitted his mistakes and makes changes to correct his errors. Young readers will see how selfishness can harm others and how acknowledging your mistakes can help heal both yourself and others. There are also messages about caring for the environment that can be used as starting points for discussions on these issues.
The book is broken down into nine short chapters, detailing the escalating problems and then the solution. The chapter breaks will make it easier for young readers who might feel overwhelmed with a continuous story line. The lovely watercolor illustrations mesh perfectly with this tale that children are sure to enjoy.
Quill says: An enchanting story that entertains while it educates.