Tuesday, February 23, 2010

King &King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland is a book about a prince who is told he must marry. His mother, the Queen, introduces her son to many princesses. However, the prince is not interested in these women. In fact, he falls in love with a prince who came with his sister. It was love at first sight, so they end up getting married.
I can see how this would be controversial. In fact, I'm not sure how I feel about it exactly. The relationship between he and the other prince was not discussed, his mother accepted it, and there seemed to be no problems with the prince wanting to marry another prince. Some adults may feel this is unrealistic and sending the wrong message. I like how this book is written. Although I wish it would have showed the reaction of others (like the queen), I think it was appropriate to leave out for a children's book. I can see why the author would have chosen to do this. The prince was in love, therefore, he married who he loved. The person he fell in love with just happened to be a male instead of a female. It was accepted. This book is preaching acceptance, but I don't know if it would be appropriate in the classroom because it could bring up issues that didn't need to be discussed with such young children. If I was to talk about untraditional relationships in my future classroom, I think I would pick a different book that explained it more and was a little more realistic. I think this book is controversial, but I can see the benefits of reading it. However, I think I would leave this up to the parents to decide if they want to expose their child to this book specifically.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the bright, colorful, and detailed pictures. The illustrator put forth a lot of effort when laying out the pages. The text was often staggared, enlarged, bolded, and positioned around objects. It was great! The pictures look like they were drawn in and almost has a crayon-like look on some pages. One illustration I found controversial was the very last page. It showed the princes kissing. However, there was a heart over where their lips would touch, so it was implying they were going to kiss/were kissing.
Like I said before, I have mixed emotions about this book. Parts of it I liked, but I don't know how comfortable I would be reading this book to students. Because of the subject topic, I would be a little hesitant. However, if the distric I taught for wanted me to broach this subject, I would want to use another book I believe that would be more realistic.


  1. Interesting comments here--you sound conflicted about this book. You mention that you would want a more "realistic" handling of teh reaction of others, but I'm not sure that I agree that that would work for the genre (fairy tale). I personally like that this book does give a "happily ever after ending" as it is then consistant with other fairy tales (liek Cinderella etc.) that have happy (but not overly analyzed) endings.

    Overall, your blogs rae looking thoughtful and interesting. I hope that the project continues to go well for you over the rest of the semester!

  2. I am very interested in reading this book. I feel that I would have a similar reaction to the situation because it is also very unrealistic. I think that it is a very touchy subject to bring up in class, and using royalty as the main characters might be too much of a stretch. I agree that there are plenty of other books that can address this controversial topic in a different way. I would have to see the book, but I think that having the two prices "kiss" at the end is not necessary. I think that there are other ways to show that the two princes are happy together.