Review & Author Blog: King of the Swamp / Catherine Emmett

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

This month marks the publication of King of the Swamp by Catherine Emmett (available here) and today is our stop on the blog tour. Read on for a review of King of the Swamp and then head over to author Catherine's guest booklist featuring her 5 favourite children's books about caring for the environment.

Book Title: King of the Swamp (available here)

Author: Catherine Emmett

Illustrator: Ben Mantle

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: August 2020

Reviewer: Carol Carter

Most Suitable For: EYFS & KS1


McDarkly lives alone in the swamp, happily tending his neat garden of orchids in peace. But then, one day, in rides the pompous and rather rude King, who wants to turn McDarkly’s peaceful (if slightly dank and dark) home into a roller skate park!

Luckily, the young princess is a botantist at heart, and manages to win the swamp a reprieve – the King and his retinue of minions will return in ten days to see the orchids bloom. McDarkly believes that with hard work, and a LOT of shovelling, he can be ready….that is, until the orchid-munching caterpillars descend!

King of the Swamp is a lovely picture book to read aloud - the lilting, rhyming text just begs to be read out loud in a sing-song voice. The watery colour scheme of the swamp has the perfect balance of dripping weeds and big-eyed critters peeping from behind reeds and logs. With a gentle happy ending, as the swamp becomes a nature reserve, the book would link well in the classroom with units on things that grow and care for the environment. Catherine Emmett’s text and Ben Mantle’s illustrations are a successful pairing and I hope to see them working together again soon.

You can order King of the Swamp online or from your local bookshop.

Guest Post

Click here to read author Catherine Emmett's guest booklist featuring 5 children's stories about caring for the environment.


You can order King of the Swamp online or from your local bookshop.

Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy and to Catherine for providing the guest post. Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.


Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.


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