THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A KING. DEATH TO PRETENDERS.
Thus read the signs in Enchanted City, a city held in the grip of the cruel Enchanter. But Scarboy and Little Child's mother used to insist "There is a king. A real king." In this city where orphans are slaves and people work in the night and sleep in the light, Scarboy finds that hard to believe. Yet, taking Little Child, he escapes from the reach of the Enchanter and begins to hunt for the King in Great Park, the place where trees grow. There he will find not only the truth, but also a new name: Hero.
This clever story is allegory in the traditional sense, a story that personifies themes, ideas, and people. It's not a completely one-to-one allegory (nor should it be taken as one), but it is very close in a way that's both intriguing and helpful. Each book contains twelve stories that feature either the main storyline or a loosely related one-off story with a character that learns specific moral lessons.
Kingdom Tales differs from the allegories of Lewis or Tolkien in that it cleverly (and successfully) integrates a traditionally-told allegory into a modern setting. The Enchanted City is a modern city, and even in Great Park there are modern clothes and objects. This is not meant as a commentary on modern culture, but simply as a story told in a setting that modern readers and children identify with (much like Pilgrim's Progress would have been to readers at that time.)
This edition collects the original three books into one volume, with discussion questions added by My Father's World at the end of each chapter. These questions are quite simple, aimed at fostering discussion to aid in comprehension. Only in a very few cases do they attempt to explain the allegory.
These, combined with the easy writing style of the book itself, make the story excellent for reading aloud. Though some in-text sound effects and written-out accents are a bit cheesy, they're easily skipped over if they bother you. Unlike the original editions, this volume has no illustrations.
Tales of the Kingdom is the story of how Scarboy and Little Child escape the pollution of the Enchanted City and enter the house of the Caretaker in Great Park. Scarboy, now renamed Hero, attempts to sight the King and pluck up the courage to pass through the Sacred Flames to join in the Great Celebrations, where everyone becomes as they really are.
Tales of the Resistance follows Hero into the Enchanted City where the people work in the night and sleep in the light. Hero helps the City Taxi Company assist the King as He walks throughout the Enchanted City freeing orphans, saving the helpless, and undoing the enchantment of the Enchanter.
Tales of the Restoration is the story of Little Child and how he assists in the Restoration of Bright City. Little Child becomes a storyteller, a Hunter of Lost Children, as the people of Bright City work at restoring the kingdom and keeping the darkness at bay.
Please note that though new copies are hardcover, used copies are usually a spiral-bound paperback.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
Did you find this review helpful?