Monday, August 26, 2013

The King of Little Things ~ Blog Tour & author interview

The King of Little Things
by Bil Lepp; illustrated by David T. Wenzel
32 pages; ages 4 - 8
Peachtree Publishers, 2013

"Long ago, on the far side of a mountain, lived the King of Little Things." What sort of things did he rule over? Coins, candles, combs and keys. Mittens, marbles and macaroni. The stuff other kings would hardly notice. Until...

King Normous, the greedy decided that he should rule over everything. He and his armies raided and ransacked the realm and then he declared himself King of All Things.

Except that he wasn't. Because, as the steward noted, there was a very miniscule majesty ruling over the kingdom of tiny things. King Normous raged and roared and plotted. And when he tossed the King of Little Things into the dungeon he figured he had won. Except.... tiny things have a way of causing problems, and therein lies a story. A story so crazy that only Bil Lepp could make it absolutely one hundred percent believable.

You see, Bil Lepp is a storyteller of some renown, having amazed audiences far and wide with tales of toilet plungers and wild beasts. Now he's turned his hand to children's books - something he's been wanting to do for years. A couple weeks ago I caught up with Bil and asked him Three Questions:

Sally's Bookshelf: This is so fun to read. How did you come up with the idea?

Bil: Totally by accident. I was playing with my son (he was about five years old at the time) and he said, "Let's play Kingdoms." He grabbed his T-Rex and other big toys and said he was king over them. Then he said to me, "You can be the king of little things." I had to go write that down!

SB: You've been telling this story for about ten years. What's the difference between telling a story and writing it?

Bil: When I tell a story, I have a lot more time to weave in details. Plus I can see how the audience reacts to the story. I can't see that with a book. Writing a picture book, I had to learn how to pare the story down to the 500 to 800 essential words. I also learned a lot about how much of a story is communicated by the illustrations. I could leave out those little details because they could be included in the pictures.

SB: Were you surprised by the illustrations?

Bil: I was surprised by how well David's illustrations connected to how I see the story in my own mind! I have a vision of what the characters look like and David comes very close - though the King doesn't look at all like I thought he'd look. The other thing is how David stretched the story with his drawings; it was a minimalist story to begin with and his illustrations are rich with details.

SB: Let's end with half a question. What are you working on next?

Bil: A story inspired by my daughter about a Soup Zombie.

Bil started telling stories in the West Virginia Liar's Contest. You can see videos of him telling stories at his website. Review copy provided by publisher

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour: 
Today - visit Blue Owl Reviews
Tuesday the tour stops at Kid Lit Reviews and Maestra Amanda's Bookshelf
On Wednesday wander over to Gidget's Bookworms
Thursday the tour stops off at a Words Worth
and Friday it winds up at Boys and Literacy
ALSO - adding one more: Good Reads with Ronna


  1. This book sounds adorable! I love that he got the phrase from his five-year-old son. Kids say the best stuff. How wonderful that Bill thought to write it down immediately.

  2. What a great story!! The book and Mr. Lepp's real story. This one is going on my wish list. Thanks!