Parents' Guide to

The King in the Window

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Busy, wild fantasy is less than lucid.

Book Adam Gopnik Fantasy 2005
The King in the Window Poster Image

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With this wild tale author Adam Gopnik has fallen prey to the curse of first-time children's authors: trying to cram everything into his first book. He tosses out ideas and images with reckless abandon, a surfeit of riches that quickly becomes too much. Page after page of less-than-lucid exposition goes by, along with a plethora of references only adults will get, including Yoko's effect on the Beatles, Robert Parker's wine commentary, Moliere's sense of irony, cinema clichés, and much more.

Gopnik seems to have heard the dictum that great children's literature appeals to adults too, but mixed it up with family movies, in which adult references are thrown in to keep the accompanying adults from boredom. The result is a book that will satisfy neither. It shimmers with imagination and beautiful prose, an intellectual feast, but the editor did not do him a service by withholding the red pen.

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