#PPBF: When I Was King – Sibling Rivalry


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. Before I share not one, not two, but three wonderful books that address the topic of sibling rivalry…I want to encourage you to hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where you will find many other awesome picture book reviews. AND, if you are an illustrator or an aspiring one, please check out her NEW Illustrator Contest.


I also want to give a shout-out to Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo, a month-long challenge for those who want to/love to write rhyming picture books. Every day, Angie’s blog has a post that is a complete workshop in itself…with Golden Quill guests who share information and inspiration. I’ve always loved poetry…Angie’s posts are like a college course…deeply examining the subject and then relating it to writing picture books. The Facebook page interaction is amazing and so helpful. As of today, there are 200 participants registered! The critique groups that were formed at the beginning of the month are proving to be incredibly supportive. Even if you didn’t sign up before…or you don’t think you can participate fully, please check out the blog posts…each one is worth its weight in gold!

And now to our picture book review!

When I first started blogging, most of my posts were geared towards parents with young children. In past year or so, since I’ve been so actively involved in writing (and learning how to write) picture books, many of my posts have had a more ‘writerly’ emphasis. But the Building Self-Esteem Using Picture Books and Other Activities teleseminar I did on Wednesday, reminded me that parenting concerns are still number one with me. And, when you think about it, that’s one of the main reasons I want to write great picture books. With that in mind, here are three books that will bring a smile to any parent’s face…and will help older siblings deal with the difficult challenge of accepting and loving a younger brother or sister.

when I was kind

When I Was King

Written by Linda Ashman

Illustrated by David McPhail

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers (2008)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Sibling rivalry


Opening Lines:

“Before you came, I owned the throne.
They trembled at my slightest moan.
I was the star, the prize, the king. . . .
But you have ruined everything.”



Welcoming a new baby brother or sister is not an easy thing to do. In this charming rhyme, an older brother complains and gripes about how things are different now that there is a new baby in the house. In the end, he decides the baby has some redeeming qualities…and perhaps he can share the throne.

Why I like this book:

  • Bold vivid illustrations
  • Wonderful message that even though it is normal to resent the attention a baby gets, we can find qualities about them that we do like
  • Another gem from Linda Ashman…just love her books…and this one is illustrated by the incomparable David McPhail…and I just discovered that David lives in New Hampshire…maybe I will get to connect with him one day
  • A perfect book for any older brother or sister

How a parent can use this book:

  • Talk about how moms and dads have enough love for all their children
  • Discuss why babies need special attention and how older brother or sister can help
  • Encourage your child to express his feelings about the baby

I promised to tell you about two other books that address the same topic. These were read for the Rhyming Picture Book Month challenge. They are well worth reading to your children. The first one has bold illustrations and a rollicking verse…the second has almost no words…a perfect book for your child to look at and tell YOU the story.

brand new baby blues

Brand-New Baby Blues by Kathi Appelt


Mine! By Shutta Crum

Related Activities

Every child needs to feel special…how about making your child prince or princess for a day. We posted this activity recently, but it is totally perfect for this book as well.

Here’s a quick and easy crown craft.


You will need: Construction paper, scissors, markers, glue.

  1. Cut a strip of construction paper…fit to your child’s head.
  2. Cut points along one edge.
  3. Cut out jewel shapes from construction paper and color with markers.
  4. Glue onto the crown.
  5. Staple the ends so the crown.
  6. Let the prince or princess decide what is for dessert and which story to read for bedtime.

For many more prince and princess crowns, please go to http://www.firstpalette.com/tool_box/printables/princesscrown.html





I’ll be giving some highlights from Susanna Leonard Hill’s  incredible Making Picture Book Magic class which I took in February and also sharing an Author Illustrator Blog Hop

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on April 11, 2014, in Crafts for kids, Perfect Picture Book Friday, sibling rivalry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Thanks Vivian for your kind words about RhyPiBoMo! I enjoyed reading your blog today! = )


    • WOW…how do you even have time to pop over here with all you are doing for the challenge? Thanks, Angie…glad you like the post! I wanted people to realize that even if they don’t sign up for the month-long challenge, they can benefit by just visiting one or more of your posts. 🙂


  2. My brother and I certainly could have profited from BOTH of these books when we were children, Vivian. Well, actually, even now. Maybe I’ll get him a copy of WHEN I WAS KING for his 66th birthday! Oh, wait, he still thinks he is the King. 😉
    Excellent post.


  3. hahaha….. cracked up reading Marylin’s comment here. Great book choices, Vivian. So love the cover of Mine. Looking forward to your post on Susanna’s class.


    • Sorry the post on Susanna’s class did not happen on Monday., Diane.:(
      Life keeps getting in the way of all that I want to do…oh, that’s right…all that I want to do is life. 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Will try to make that post happen soon…this coming Monday is an author/illustrator writing process blog hop. 🙂


  4. What a hoot! Love “When I Was King” and your other selections. One day my mother found me lying under my brother’s crib kicking the bottom and saying, “this is me bed.” Now that baby brother just made his transition in March. It’s good to be reminded of funny memories. Had forgotten that. Nice choices for sibling rivalry.


    • Oh Pat…thank you for sharing that wonderful memory here. 🙂 My sister tells me that when I was an infant, she rocked me soooo hard in my carriage that I flipped out onto the floor. And I’ve seen plenty of 3-5 year olds hug a baby brother or sister so hard I thought they would crack their ribs. I guess it is our first adjustment to life isn’t always fair. 🙂


  5. You are building up quite a resource here. I’ll have to forward this to my sister, who just had a second baby. Let’s hope her daughter doesn’t play the queen.


  6. Stacy S. Jensen

    Why have I not read this Linda Ashman book? Looks like a great resource for new siblings. Love the activity. We need a crown in our house for someone … who things he’s king.


  7. A hat trick of great books, Vivian! With your suggestion I am going to reread When I was King for poetry month.


    • So glad I gave you some grist for poetry month, Wendy! I’m doing RhyPiBoMo and my local library has supplied me with dozens and dozens of rhyming picture books…what a great month this is!


  8. I loved MIne when I read it last. I read a text blog on it and saw how the text was laid out with the illustrations all sparse and tight. So informative.

    I like how you found the mission for your blog, Vivian. WAY TO GO! 🙂


  9. These are great picks! Josie and I don’t have this problem… too much. 😉


  10. “mine” became a catchphrase for my kids (something about a seagull in a kid’s flick) – this is such an important topic…. esp for the oldest kid who really is Queen or King of the universe until those little usurpers pop into the scene.


    • Love your term, Sue…usurpers…yes, that is how many feel…and I can’t blame them…especially if it is a very loving home where the older got lots of time and attention. 🙂 I think a lot of the problem stems from parents who tell the older one…you have to love him/her, you have to give him/her this or that because he/she is only a baby. The older needs to feel valued and respected…it’s a hard situation, no doubt about it. 🙂


  11. You always find such wonderful books to share, and I love the activities you find to complement them! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Always love to see what you have to share!


    • So happy you liked the book and activity, Tina! Thank you for always hosting Booknificent Thursday…I am glad to participate and only wish I had more time so I could hop around and visit all the other great bloggers who follow you. 🙂


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