Grumpy Little King

Cover Grumpy Little King
Grumpy Little King cover

A playful, humourous children’s picture book about a serious topic – conflict and war.

The little king is always grumpy. He feels insignificant, and wishes he was an important ruler, with a large kingdom. His advisers have the solution: start a war against the little king’s cousin! Armies are assembled, speeches made, then the fighting starts. But when the soldiers discover that the two kings are nowhere near the battlefield, things don’t work out quite as planned…

Published by Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781742375724

illustration Grumpy Little King is grumpy indeed
The little king is grumpy
illustration Grumpy Little King with his advisers
The advisers
illustration Grumpy Little King gives a fiery speech
Rousing speeches
illustration Grumpy Little King's men are searching
The search for the kings
Grumpy Little King on deserted battlefield
Deserted battlefield

Grumpy Little King was inspired in part by the German Revolution of 1918/19, which put a stop to the First World War for Germany. Beginning with a mutiny in the German navy, a strike wave swept over the country. The Kaiser abdicated and fled to Holland. Ordinary people managed to end the “Great War” that the ruling German elites wanted to continue.

Another important influence were my own experiences as a soldier in the West German army during the Cold War in the late 1980s. All our training scenarios were preparing us for a bloody fight against the Soviet bloc, which included East Germany. In the end, peaceful protests in East Germany brought down the regime without a shot being fired. These days, the former enemies from East and West live peacefully in a re-unified Germany.