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
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.