The Tiny King

The Tiny King by Taro Muiraby Taro Miura

first U.S. edition published 2013, by Candlewick Press

Here’s a sweet and funny story. Candlewick sent me a review copy of The Tiny King in the waning weeks of 2013. My eye was already eager for it thanks to this Calling Caldecott post about international illustrators, so it was a bit of postal perfection. (Speaking of, are you counting down the days to January 27th?)

And then for Christmas, my mom sent me a spectacular selection of picture books – including The Tiny King! She always says I’m tough to buy books for, like “purchasing jewelry for a jeweler.” Maybe that’s true, but I think she did a pretty darn good job. (The others were a Poky Little Puppy Christmas edition and an autographed Jon Scieszka, so. And all came from bbgb in Richmond, VA. Shop indie!)

There’s no moral to this story. Just an extra copy of The Tiny King for you! Stay tuned for how to snag it.

So, this book. It’s this crazy mashup of charming fairy tale and quirky collage. The result is exquisite and mesmerizing, and you get a taste of that from the cover alone.

A sword-gripping hand is strong and fierce but nothing more than a circle. His distinguished white hairdo dripping out from under his crown – a small stack of white, curved lines. A leg made up of newsprint, which on careful inspection is a snippet of the tiny King’s wedding announcement. Foreshadowing. Spoiler. Clever and adorable.

Did you see the mini-note at the bottom of the cover, too? (This is the actual size of the Tiny King.) What a little delight!DPB_Stack_TheTinyKingNow that you’ve met him on the cover where you’ve seen him smash end to end, flip open to the first page and see that stature in context. This split in scale made me laugh out loud and drop my jaw. It’s so stunning, and so easy to fall in love with this little dude – small and alone and swimming in it.

He has a massive colorful castle, an army of tall soldiers with spears, and a feast fit for a bigger king. The spreads that introduce the reader to his lavish and lonely lifestyle are dark and looming, despite his kooky, whimsical posessions.DPB_Stack_TheTinyKing2And then one day, a big princess shows up. The light! The expanse of bright space! The Q on her triangled gown! I went all out gaga and giddy for our tiny hero.

Everything changes in tone and in mood. The story takes place on washes of pink, blue, and yellow. The babies arrive, the soldiers are sent home to their families, and the empty castle is filled up with a bunch of love.DPB_Stack_TheTinyKing3Happily and beautifully ever after.

I’d love to send a copy from my castle to yours. Just comment here by Thursday night at midnight PST. I’ll announce winners for this giveaway (and The Mischievians!) on Friday, and head to the royal post office this weekend.

Good luck!


Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.



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66 thoughts on “The Tiny King

  1. Oh my goodness, this is just about the cutest thing ever. Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, they’re all very big in our household right now. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I love that your mother shops for your gift at the independent bookstore. Looked like she selected a winner!

  3. What a gorgeous book, Carter! I love that it says this is the actual size of the tiny king :) I would love to win this one – thanks so much for offering the giveaway! (BTW, I got Alphablock for my granddaughter based on your review and she LOVES it! :))

  4. My little guy would love the colors in this! Looks like a great book- I always love getting to see peeks into books like this. Thx!

  5. Your mom could be designated shopper for me! This looks like another great book. I love that the castle looks like blocks, that kids could build. :)

  6. Another great find, Carter! It fits in so well with all of the other “royal” books out there like Grumpy Little King, King Hugo’s Ego, and The King’s 6th Finger!

  7. That’s funny that you ended up with two! I saw this one at Hicklebee’s and thought it was the cutest thing. I’m always on the lookout for books about small people or things; since I was a small one, and still am, probably, though I feel like I’m way bigger now :)

  8. Magnificently delightful, majestically artsy…love the small/large contrasts that are both in the text and the images, and as much appears to be the angst in the heart of the Tiny King. But love seems to prevail. Thanks Carter for your spotlight on such treasures, they inspire adventure in my writing and stretch my mind to imagine what an illustrator might do with my own stories.

    • I LOVE that, about stretching your mind for what an illustrator will do. Once I started studying the art in picture books, it became so much more intuitive. Such a good reminder for us writers!

  9. I’m commenting because I should totally win. I have the cutest three-year-old in the entire world who brings me book after book to read to him so you should totally pick me. Wait… what? It’s totally random? Oh… well, you should still pick me. ;)

    How are ya, Carter?!

  10. I love the details in the small illustrations, and I love how sweet the princess is! It’s not easy to find an illustrated princess that looks like it was created with kids in mind (childlike features, etc,). Beautiful book!

    Bbgb is my favorite place to take my kids :)

  11. Oh I would love this book! I’ve had it on my Amazon wishlist for months. Thanks for the view of some of the inside pages. I love it!

  12. Pingback: Counting Down to the Caldecott | DMA Canvas

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