Christian Children's Books: Daughter of a King by Rachel Ann Nunes Review
Daughter of a King, by Rachel Ann Nunes and illustrated by David Lindsley with Ben Soward (ISBN 10: 1577349350, Covenant Books, 2001) Is an illustrated story about a child named Katie whose parents tell her that although she is a potato farmer's daugher who wears patched and tattered clothing, she is really the daughter of a king who lives in a beautiful crystal palace. Her parents remind her as she grows up that if she behaves like a princess, always remembering where she came from, she will be able to return to live with her true father, the King, again.
The allegorical story is told in a series of vignettes, beginning with Katie's childhood, when she is teased for behaving like a princess. Katie finds a friend who also knows about the crystal palace and also knows how to behave like a princess. In contrast, later she is tempted to steal a delicious blueberry pie when she is with the other village children, because she is hungry and their parents haven't taught them to behave like children of a king. Of course she repents and makes restitution to a forgiving widow who also knows how to behave like a princess.
In the next scene, Katie meets her future husband, who also knows about the crystal palace. Eventually they marry, raise a son, Nathan, and finally prepare themselves to journey to the crystal palace. In this last vignette, the couple gives their only food to a begger, who shows the way to the palace up a steep, mountainous path. Katie and her husband's good deeds and kindness help them to stay on the steep and difficult path, but they finally see the golden gates of the crystal palace, where Katie whispers to her husband in a moment of uncertainty, "do you think I will fit in?" Her husband reassures her that the King will know her heart, and see her true nature. In the final scene, Katie is reunited with her true father, the King, who welcomes her into his loving arms and tells her he is happy he has returned to her. "I sent many to help you find the way...but always the choice was yours."
- The Inspiration Behind Daughter of a King
From author Ann Nunes' web site, this article describes how Nunes came to write this book.
David Lindsley Artwork Makes This Book Collaboration a Success
The simple allegorical storyline of Daughter of a King makes for a sweet and touching story suitable for the Christian market, but the glowing pastoral images of portrait artist David Lindsley make this book collaboration the success that it has become, in my opinion. Without the appealing pastoral illustrations, this book wouldn't quite have the spark that makes it such a wonderful grandparent gift for young teens. More of a coffee table art book than a true children's picture book, everything about the illustrations in this book glows. From the gilded front and end papers, to the intricate scrolling designs around the gold text of the front title cover, the pictures really make this book work. Even the pictures suggest something of great value.
Lindsley and Sowards use subdued glowing golden light to enhance the pictures of Katie and her parents and later her husband Michael on each page of the book, giving the book a romantic, even heavenly quality that both serve to remind the reader that this book is a fictional story, and to drive home the spiritual message of the allegory: that one's journey through life should be ever toward a Loving Father in Heaven who remembers his child and knows her name.
Each page of this picture book focuses on the people in the story, with spare details of worldly items. Instead, each image shows generous doses of beautiful mountain scenery, usually with characters outside of their homes. This imagery evokes the idea that the earth is still the Lord's (remember the lilies of the field).
Positive Messages in Daughter of a King
The most fundamental positive message in the book Daughter of a King is the well-worn phrase from Latter-day Saint Primary song, "I am a Child of God, and He has sent me here, has given me a an earthly home, with parents kind and dear..." This message is easily forgotten during the teen years, and this book exudes virtue. The simple storyline of a young girl stealing pies allows parents and grandparents to remind their youths of the importance of behaving in a manner fitting of a prince or princess without requiring parents to deliver a heavy-handed lecture on guarding one's virtue. The simple message to honor one's heritage as the daughter (or son) of a King is infinitely more palatable than lectures focusing on dress standards, movie choices, and the like. Just like the ever popular phrases "What Would Jesus Do" and "Return With Honor", this book aims to provide an uplifting reminder to teens (and really, anyone who gets their hands on this story) to make positive choices on the sometimes difficult journey Home to a Heavenly Father.
Some readers may find the author's approach to this topic a bit heavy-handed. This book isn't at all subtle. But if it is a beautiful art book that one is looking for, this book is luminously pleasing and lovely, and an especially fitting gift book for grandparents and parents to give on the occassion of Christmas or a birthday or the beginning of the first year of college. This book is a perfectly fitting addition for the LDS and broader Christian book markets.
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