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“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” More
Summary: King Norman and King Wynthor have very specific ideas about what is best for the world … and it starts with them! King Norman issues his decrees in a kingdom where everyone must have red hair. For King Wynthor, everyone in the kingdom should have blue hair. And so the battle begins. Curious, as all children are, a shy Priscilla asks the kings "why." The kings don't notice the question, are less amazed at the question, and are instead, struck by her purple hair. Will everyone in the kingdom dismiss her question? This picture book helps kids understand the importance of being themselves.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 4 to 10
Age of Child: Started reading with 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter asked us to read this book for several nights. Even when we weren't reading it, she spent time just thumbing through the book looking at the pages. She likes the substance of the story and all the wonderful hairdos in the book. She has talked about how we judge others, how we talk to one another, and how it would be cool to have purple hair.
Adult Reader Reaction: Although Priscilla's full name is a mouthful, this is a fun book to read. Unlike many of the so-called rhyming stories that we have seen recently, this one not only has a solid rhyming scheme, but builds vocabulary. They aren't the same old "hat/cat" type of rhymes. Dad read this the first couple of times, then Mom read it. Before we started reading, our daughter told Mom that this was a book about being different and bullies. After several of the passages (King's soliloquy) she again explained that this was about bullies and what happens to them.
Pros: Kids will love the story; parents will like the message. The book offers an engaging, somewhat humorous look at the "fallout" from just following along (rather than asking questions). The book also vividly displays how being entrenched can be foolhardy (and ultimately lonely).
Borrow or Buy: Buy. The message is timeless and the more subtle elements will "sink in" with your child over time. Unfortunately, this is a theme that needs to be re-visited periodically through a child's life (even in Kindergarten!).
Educational Themes: The story offers you the opportunity to create several discussions with kids: being true to oneself, thinking independently/for yourself; leading v. following; courage; acceptance; and friendship (Priscilla's first ally was an unexpected individual). The author did not hint at this, but the fact that Priscilla's hair is purple, drawing from both the Blue- and Red-dominant worlds could help you introduce the idea that together, the kings had ideas that created something even better.
Notes: 2008 Gold Recipient: People's Choice, Moms Choice Awards; 2008 Gold Recipient: Developing Social Skills, Moms Choice Awards; 2008 Gold Medal, Moonbeam Children's Book Awards (Picture Book 5-8 category)