King Bob's New Clothes
I appreciate this version of the Hans Christian Andersen story, which has fun with the tale in keeping with the typical comedy of Dom DeLuise. At the start of the story we find heraldry with a pig-Latin inscription. The first illustration centers on "Discombobulatus Rex XVIII." That long name occasions the king's shorter name, "Bob." The first line of the story is "Long, long ago, in a land far away – but much closer than you may think – there lived a king whose priorities were all mixed up. Shortly into the story we get a full page of clothes that resemble the old cut-out clothes we used to put on paper dolls. Every Sunday there was a procession, attended by the Honest John Wright family. The canopy over the king is held up by four men of uneven height. Many of King Bob's subjects think that he is foolish, but no one says anything because they are afraid. Wear and Tear are out-of-work tailors. They are so two-faced that, if you look quickly, you can actually see four faces! They tell the king that only the pure of heart can see their magic cloth, with its gold and silver threads, laced with diamonds. King Bob in the procession is pictured as wearing only a medallion and shoes. After outing King Bob, Little Honest John, Jr., offers him a horse-blanket when he starts sneezing. In this version, King Bob then asks the people if they have been seeing nothing the whole time. He is stunned that it has taken a child to tell him the truth. Wear and Tear, apprehended, make a donation of their newfound riches to the people at large. King Bob assigns them to make clothes for all the needy in the kingdom. King Bob tells the people that he is changing his priorities. For the first time in his life, King Bob smells like a horse – but he feels like a king. After recipes for Chicken a la King and three other "king" items, the last page features a to-do list with all the right priorities. It is the perfect glance back to the story's beginning.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers