The King of Birds

Adapted from a traditional tale, this beautifully illustrated picture book tells of hundreds of birds gathering to choose a king. They cannot decide if the king should be the bird with the biggest beak or the one with the most colorful feathers. Finally, after considerable debate, they decide their king will be the bird who can fly the highest. And the winner would seem to be obvious— until a small wren outsmarts them all. From the biggest to the smallest, the fastest to the most abundant, they can all be found here, anatomically accurate and in glorious color with a key at the back of the book that identifies the hundreds of species of birds included.

“This poetic retelling of a traditional tale is a feast for both the eye and the ear. Ward’s brief and lyrical retelling works hand in hand with her glowing artwork to charm readers. The pen-and-ink illustrations colored with watercolors and gouache take full advantage of the spectacle and beauty of the avian world. Each vibrantly colored competitor sets forth from a clean white page and often breaks through the fine-lined borders and margins. An informative appendix lists all of the birds that appear, forming a veritable ‘Guinness Book of Avian Records.'”

– School Library Journal

“The familiar folk tale motif of who would be king gets a fresh retelling in this gorgeous picture book. Unable to agree, the birds decide that the one who can fly the highest shall be declared king. The eagle soars the highest … seemingly. The exquisite, realistic watercolor paintings of birds cleverly and humorously teach with a light touch. Parents’ Choice Recommended.”

– From Parents’ Choice

Helen Ward wanted to be an illustrator before she knew what an illustrator was called. She went to art college and graduated with a Degree in Graphic design/Illustration.

She has a longstanding interest in natural history both real and imagined. She particularly enjoys the ‘imagined’ because it’s so much easier to get right. She is the author and illustrator of many award-winning books and she lives in the English countryside where she writes and draws and paints.