About the Holiday
If you’re a fan of the bearded look – whether full or scruffy – today is a day to rethink your style and perhaps have a shave. If you’ve worn a beard for some time, do you remember what you looked like before your grew it? Does your family? Maybe you have kids who have never seen you without a beard! You may find you like a clean-shaven appearance. If not, of course, you can always regrow your beard – just like the townsfolk in today’s book!
Thanks to minedition for sharing a copy of The King’s Golden Beard with me for review consideration. All opinions on the book are my own.
The King’s Golden Beard
By Klaas Verplancke
“A long long time ago, when most people still believed the world was flat as a pancake, there lived a king with a beautiful beard.” The king lived for his shiny beard, admiring it in the mirror all day long and creating “special laws to protect his beard and help it grow.” One law stated that his beard could never be trimmed, and another forbid anyone (or anything) else to grow a beard or moustache. Everyone (and everything) was forced to shave every morning—thus, pirates, billy goats, puffer fish, whales, cacti, cats, and even brooms and brushes had to go hairless.
If anyone grew even “one little hair,” they “would be cut into a thousand pieces with a pinchy pair of nail scissors!” Barbers suddenly had more customers than they could handle. In the king’s castle, all the portraits were stripped of beards as the king’s own facial hair, growing like a weed, “meandered through the vast corridors of the royal palace.” It even made its way out of a window, onto winding paths, and right across every Royal Beard Street in every village for miles around.
But it didn’t stop there. It snaked its way across the kingdom, and every “man, woman, child, and beast bowed down to the beard as it swished and swooshed past” them on its way to the deserts, forests, and mountains around the world. At last, the king’s beard reappeared at his own castle’s back door “because the earth, as you know, is round and not flat.”
There a palace guard spotted this “‘strange beard’” and alerted the king. Outraged, the king ordered that the owner of this wayward beard “should be cut to pieces at once!” The guards began to follow the beard to its origin and carry out the king’s law. They traveled around the world right back to their castle—where the king sat admiring himself in many mirrors—and announced that they had found the beard’s owner. “‘Cut him into pieces,’ shouted the king.” And so they…. After all—”the law is the law.” The new king—as well as everyone in the kingdom—now understood that the world was round. And as for the old king’s law? With the new king, it didn’t stand a whisker of a chance.
Quirky, set in a time of willful ignorance and a self-glorifying leader, and ending with a well-deserved comeuppance, The King’s Golden Beard is a witty fable for our times. Klaas Verplancke’s humorous storytelling will appeal to kids with sly winks to their superior-to-the-king’s intelligence and laugh-inducing dialogue. As the king’s beard stretches its far-reaching influence around the world, lines of text invite kids to turn the book sideways and upside down on the journey to revealing the truth. Along with the laughs, Verplancke’s story provides a captivating way for adults and kids to discuss issues of fairness, vanity, justice, good leadership, and respect for science and scientists.
Verplancke’s eye-catching illustrations in teal, olive, brown, and plum accented with a yellowish gold, we’ve all seen before are fresh and funny. The king—never entirely seen except for a grinning mouth, red gloves, and black boots—is an outsized figure while the guards and townspeople charm with their abstract shapes and proportions.
Unique, timely, and multi-layered, The King’s Golden Beard would be a much-asked for favorite on any home, school, and library bookshelf.
Ages 4 – 8 (and up)
minedition, 2021 | ISBN 978-1662650390
To learn more about Klaas Verplancke, his books, and his art, visit his website. Kids can learn how to draw the king’s very distinctive guards here too!
National No Beard Day Activity
Moustaches can look distinguished or madcap! Here are some printable Marvelous Moustaches that you can use to make yourself look whacky, wild, and wonderful! Just color them, glue or tape each to a thin wooden craft stick or chop stick and hold them to your face for fun!
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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
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Picture Book Review