Project Description


The King of Little Things

by Bil Lepp
illustrated by David T. Wenzel

Only the King of Little Things stands between King Normous and his goal of conquering the world. And little things can wield great power.

In a world of vast kingdoms lives a king who is happy and content to reign over all things small. Not so King Normous. He wants to be Ruler of All the World. After having erased every empire and raided every realm, Normous is enraged to learn that the King of Little Things still rules over his tiny kingdom. He sends his army to defeat this upstart, but he finds he cannot outfight or outwit a king who holds sway over the small things of the world. After all, it is the small things that keep the big things going.

Bil Lepp’s imaginative tale of the beauty and importance of all things small is perfectly paired with illustrator David T. Wenzel’s bright watercolor paintings.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-708-3
Publication Date: 9/1/2013
Page Count: 32
Size: 10-3/8 ̎ x 9-3/8 ̎
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 3.5
GRL: M, Gr 2
Lexile: AD730L
Themes: Collective Resistance, Humor, Power and Responsibility, Strength in Cooperation
BISAC 1: JUV012030 JUVENILE FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / General
BISAC 3: JUV039230 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Bullying


“The tale moves briskly, with high drama and gentle humor, and allows readers to find the moral naturally. Wenzel’s watercolor illustrations are in perfect harmony with the text, in both detail and tone. Endpapers depict an assortment of small things that can be found within the illustrations, encouraging further examination. Adults and children who read this delightful and imaginative book together will find lots to talk about.” ―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Small, Lepp clearly feels, is beautiful. Yet the story doesn’t pall. Lepp revels in exploring the many ways the King of Little Things’ insignificant but loyal subjects serve him…Wenzel delivers Mad magazine-style spreads of medieval feasts, battles, capes, and crowns. Brainy wordplay abounds, and a scavenger hunt is included, too. Lepp affirms living simply without sounding smarmy, and Wenzel offers a king whose underpants fall off. What’s not to like?” ―Publishers Weekly

“Wenzel’s watercolor illustrations present a medieval world of turreted castles, banquet tables laden with food, and raiding soldiers. There are plenty of humorous details such as nails that spring from doors and buttons that pop from suspenders. The witty writing enlivens this fable about appreciating the small things in life.” ―School Library Journal

“In David T. Wenzel’s lush and lively watercolor paintings, we meet ferocious King Normous, a massive fellow bent on world conquest. ‘He raided realms. He squashed sovereignties. He eradicated empires,’ Bil Lepp writes with cheery alliteration… No points for guessing which king prevails in this endearing and satisfying picture book for readers ages 5-10.” ―The Wall Street Journal

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“A lively and comic tale with an underlying message about humility and honesty overcoming power and greed… Readers familiar with Lepp’s style and wit will delight in the wordplay found in this heartwarming story. Tongue-twisting rhymes offer young listeners a rich vocabulary… Wenzel, best-known for his graphic novel adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit,’ has created a dark palette and comic style ideally suited to the fairytale setting of Lepp’s story.” ―Charleston Gazette

The King of Little Things has much to teach children about standing up for themselves, in groups if needed; loyalty to those who have deserved your loyalty; being content with yourself; and that greed is not good for anyone, especially the greedy person… I love the illustrations and the story… It is a wonderful asset for school libraries.” ―Kid Lit Reviews



PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ―PEN America, 2014

Irma Simonton and James H. Black Award for the Best Picture Book of the Year (Finalist) ―Bank Street College of Education, 2014

Parents’ Choice Gold Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2013

Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2014

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Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award ―Westchester Library Association, 2015

The Original Art ―Society of Illustrators, 2014

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2014

Zena Sutherland Award for Children’s Literature (Best Overall Picture Book; Best Text) ―University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, 2014

Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award (Nominee) ―Kansas Reading Association, 2015

Delaware Diamonds (Nominee, K-2) ―Diamond State Reading Association, 2014-2015


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Meet the Author

Bil Lepp is a nationally renowned storyteller who has been featured numerous times at the National Storytelling Festival, at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and at major events across the country. He is also a recipient of the Storytelling Circle of Excellence Award. He lives in West Virginia. You can visit his website here.

Meet the Illustrator

David T. Wenzel is an illustrator and children’s book artist, best known for illustrating the graphic novel edition of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. He lives in Connecticut. You can visit his website here.