May 27, 2009

Spring Children's Book Parade: Tales of the Kingdom

Today's book post for the Spring Children's Book Parade (hosted by the six o'clock stitch) is Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains and illustrated by Jack Stockman.

This is a lovely book that I read as a child and remains one of my very favourite books to this day. The story is very consuming, drawing you effortlessly into a world in which an enchanter has turned a city upside-down but where hope persists of a kingdom not ruled by fear, where things will be made right again. The story is told through the eyes of Hero who sets off in search of this kingdom and we find in the book about a dozen chapters, each of which builds upon the last toward the climax of the book, but which may also be read independantly. The book is the first in a trilogy which continues in Tales of the Resistance (also amazing, also illustrated by Stockman), and concludes with Tales of the Restoration.

I must say that, although the stories are wonderful, the book is not the same if you experience it without the phenomenal watercolor illustrations by Jack Stockman. They so truly express the joys and fears of the world we read about in the stories. As a child I took this book out from the library to read hundreds of times and I would spent hours poring over the full page illustrations wishing I was the princess Amanda or that I knew Mercy and Caretaker. Unfortunately, only the hardcover first edition (1983, Chariot Family Publishing) of the book was so illustrated and newer editions have really mediocre illustrations which would be better left out. However the book itself is worth reading even without the pictues and I really recommend trying to find a copy or borrow or buy!

(You may be interested to note some of Jack Stockman's other work: here, here and here.)

Please stop by the six o'clock stitch and read the comments on the Spring Children's Book Parade to find out what books other readers recommend!

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