written and illustrated by Nick Bland
published by Scholastic Canada, 2013
King Pig is grand ruler of the sheep. He can make them do whatever he wants (clean his castle), whenever he wants (the middle of the night). But for some reason, he can't seem to make them like him.
Until he has a brilliant idea! King Pig marches all the sheep into his castle and sets them to work dyeing, cutting and knitting their wool into a pile of fancy new clothes. He prances out in his spectacular, intricate, rainbow-bright fashions expecting applause and adulation, but . . . NOTHING! The sheep are so preoccupied with themselves (could it be that they're naked and cold without their wool?) that they don't even notice him! What's a king to do?
When King Pig finally thinks of a way to make amends, it may not be perfect — but it's a pretty good start.
My Thoughts as a Writer:
This is a great example of a story that starts with a clear problem right up front and develops as the story continues. I love the way the story doesn’t draw conclusions, but gives the reader just enough to think about so they can draw their own conclusions about how the sheep are being treated. It’s easy to see how the illustrations are an integral part of the story. I especially loved how the expressions on the characters faces add to the story. I’d read this again and use it as a mentor text for writing my own “problem story”.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:
I loved the clear, large illustrations that make this book so easy to use in a large group read aloud. This story has an important message about friendships, how to be friends, and bossiness that comes through in the illustrations and the text. It’s a great book for starting a discussion about what it means to be nice and how to think about others. I also liked how the ending acknowledges that the way King Pig makes amends is just a start, opening the door for brainstorming about what other things he could do to be nicer.
A great activity to go with this book would be to write a new ending with another idea for how King Pig could make amends. It would be interesting to discuss the pig in this story in relation to the pigs in the three little pigs, and the idea of the bossy or bully character (and it’s not always a pig) as well as the house or castle made of bricks. I also really liked the castle in the illustrations and this would be a nice book to include at a centre with castle building materials.