Today I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Catherine Emmett’s wonderful debut picture book, ‘King of the Swamp’ beautifully illustrated by Ben Mantle. McDarkly lives all alone in the damp, stinky swamp quite content tending his flowers and loving them all no matter how plain or fancy they might be. One day his peace and quiet is shattered when the King happens upon his swamp and declares he will build his new skate park over this hideous and dank place. Horrified McDarkly pleads for mercy, desperately trying to explain the true beauty that lies beyond the first impression the King has had. When the King relents, McDarkly has ten days to transform his swamp into a place that everyone will appreciate. Can he save his home in time?
‘King of the Swamp,’ is a timely and thoughtful story which contrasts very different viewpoints of what beauty is to people. Where all the King can see is the negative features of his swamp, McDarkly can see past the stinkyness and dankness and recognise that joy can be found in the most unexpected of places. But even McDarkly can’t always see the beauty that is right before him until someone, namely the King’s daughter points it out to him. In a world where nature is being destroyed in favour of progress, McDarkly and the princess teach the King a valuable lesson about the importance of preserving our environment in all of it’s natural glory. This theme is subtly woven into the story in a thoughtful and entertaining way. Catherine’s lively and energetic rhymes covey brilliantly the struggle McDarkly faces as he struggles to save his home, making for a fun and engaging read. Ben’s illustrations are sublime capturing the tiny sprinkles of loveliness that can be found within the swamp. I love the contrast in the palette between the swamp at the beginning of the story versus the end when McDarkly’s unexpected transformation is complete. A truly wonderful story that is an absolute joy to read aloud, I can’t wait to share it with the children at school.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more swampish fun…
Thank you to Catherine and Simon and Schuster for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted copy of the book. ‘King of the Swamp,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop. If you can please support your local independent bookshop.