King & King & Family by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

The sequel to King & King, Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland’s King & King & Family (2004, Tricycle Press) helps readers understand what happens after King Bertie and King Lee see several animals and their babies during their honeymoon to the jungle.  A translated book originally published in Dutch, King & King & Family is the artistic and colorful story of a same sex couple’s desires to adopt a child

King Bertie and King Lee head to the jungle for their honeymoon. King Bertie admits he is a bit apprehensive about all of the types of animals they will see. Crown Kitty meets them and tours the jungle with them. The two kings are so amazed at the love they see the jungle animals showing their children and begin to wish for a family of their own. When they return home, they are so pleased to find what appears in their very heavy suitcase: a little girl whom they happily adopt.

The collage nature of the book really adds to the book’s jungle adventure. I always love when authors and illustrators play around with illustration styles. Though the authors address a same sex couple that wants to adopt a child, they do it in a someone implicit manner. There is not a lot of explanation about the process King Bertie and King Lee go through to adopt Princess Daisy. Her arrival in the suitcase perhaps oversimplifies the challenges her fathers faced. I found myself wondering if the authors would have spent more time setting up the kings’ desires to start a family and subsequent decision to adopt had this book had been written today.

Here is a teaching idea for King & King & Family:

(1) Ask students to examine the classroom library for the types of families represented in the books. Students can make piles or lists and do this in groups or individually. You can then ask students to share or write their ideas about the types of families represented in the classroom library and the types of families underrepresented or not represented in the classroom library.  Not only is this a great critical literacy exercise for students, but it will help you consider new selections for your classroom library.

I would love to hear what you think of King & King & Family in the comments below!

Rating: img-thingimg-thingimg-thing


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