Review of Tiny Cedric

Tiny Cedric Tiny Cedric
by Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by Rowboat Watkins
Primary    Schwartz/Random    40 pp.    g
2/22    978-1-5247-7072-3    $17.99
Library ed.  978-1-5247-7073-0    $20.99

Over-the-top writing meets equally over-the-top illustrations in this tongue-in-cheek tale featuring “the tiniest king…Cedric, King ME the First” (a possible relative of Lloyd-Jones’s His Royal Highness, King Baby, rev. 11/17). From his absurd handlebar mustache to his delusions of grandeur, the self-absorbed and self-conscious Tiny Cedric is more cartoonish caricature than credible royal. To make himself feel “all big and tall, and NOT SMALL,” Tiny Cedric banishes from the palace everyone taller than himself. His brash action leaves the tiny tyrant without adult workers—and with a castle full of babies. Hilarity ensues across a series of spot-art sequences after Tiny Cedric hires the little ones, culminating in an impressively chaotic spread featuring a botched rescue by the “Baby Fire Brigade.” Not until Tiny Cedric is forced to perform a few simple caring acts for the babies does he see past his own insecurities and open his heart to others. The mixed-media illustrations have a handmade, tactile quality, featuring colorful watercolor washes and a pleasing, wobbly pencil line. Additional storytelling is packed into the highly detailed illustrations—from sardonic articles seen in Tiny Cedric’s personal newspaper (The Daily Me) to a meta-cameo of this very book in the bedtime-story pile. While a modern political analog to Tiny Cedric may be obvious to more savvy readers, the overall message of general fairness and mutual respect, delivered through humor and whimsy, remains timeless.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Patrick Gall
Patrick Gall works as a librarian for children in preschool through eighth grade at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.

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