It is my stop on the blog tour for King of the Swamp written by Catherine Emmett and illustrated by Ben Mantle. Shrek meets The Hungry Caterpillar in this charming picture book about cherishing the natural world.
In a dark, dank, stinky swamp, McDarkly lives a quiet life, growing his beloved orchids.
Then one day, a very rude king arrives and claims the land will be repurposed as a roller-skate park. Thankfully, the king’s daughter is a buddying conservationist and buys McDarkly some time to prove that the swamp isn’t as damp and dark as it first appears.
Ben’s illustrations throughout are absolutely stunning. The purple shades and beautiful flowers were a hit with my little girl. Catherine’s bouncing rhymes will put a smile on your face as you watch McDarkly fight to keep his home. McDarkly works tirelessly to get the orchids looking their best for the king’s return but some green grubs have other ideas…
The orchid’s are ruined! What will McDarkly do now? Just as all hope looks lost, perhaps the dark, damp swamp will reveal a natural beauty that will surprise even McDarkly. The ending is as magical and spectacular for McDarkly as it is for the reader.
Looking after the natural world is so important and there are many good picture books on the subject. What stands King of the Swamp apart is that the message doesn’t overpower the story. We are drawn into McDarkly’s world and his desperate struggle to save his home. My little girl loved the ending so much. Throughout the book she was pointing out little details in Ben’s illustrations. She said the book reminded her of The Hungry Caterpillar.
Full of great (grubby) words, and packed with beautiful illustrations, McDarkly and his swamp will melt your heart. Emmett and Mantle are a winning picture book team and I hope to see more picture books by them!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 20 August 2020
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary review contains my honest opinion.