Rulers Of The Playground (Joseph Kuefler)

Hello, friends! We’ve finally had a chance to visit our new library and check out some books! The one we’ll be reviewing today is Rulers Of The Playground by Joseph Kuefler, the tale of two would-be conquerors fighting over some hotly-contested grounds.

At the playground one day, Jonah decides to declare himself ruler. He asks for the fealty of his fellow kids, and they all agree, not wanting to miss out on their favorite playground activities. Jonah is mostly a fair ruler, but sometimes not. Lennox doesn’t like this much, so she annexes half of the playground and declares herself ruler. Once again, the other children take an oath of loyalty so they can continue using the swings. And Lennox is a fair ruler… until she’s not. Jonah and Lennox don’t like having to share the playground with the other, so they begin laying claim to previously neutral ground, ultimately alienating all their playmates with their shenanigans. Can Jonah and Lennox make things right and earn their friends back?

This was an interesting book, and worked on a lot of levels. On the surface, it’s a story about learning to share and to treat others and your common spaces with respect. However, there are also some more subtle and more advanced themes at play here as well: what it means to be a good leader, how those in charge can often forget that their responsibility is to those who serve them, and the necessity of sitting down to compromise instead of fighting. The illustrations are clever, featuring expressive characters against minimal backgrounds to highlight the importance of the people instead of the playground they’re fighting over. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it. A multi-layered read with some great lessons to glean, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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