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.
These classic stories are 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. The easy writing style of the books make them excellent for reading aloud. Each book contains twelve stories of the Kingdom, the Resistance, and the Restoration.
The Kingdom Tales differ from the allegories of Lewis or Tolkien in that they cleverly (and successfully) integrate 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.)
Each chapter of each book has one full color full page illustration. In addition, the second book has one or two black and white illustrations in each chapter that are "clipped" from the full color illustration for that chapter. The first two books are illustrated by Jack Stockman, the original illustrator. The last one is illustrated by Diana Magnuson in the style of the first two.
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.
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?