Like a more elliptical version of “The Little Prince,” this book (which was originally published in Germany) assembles a series of very short tales about a king who has much to learn, mostly about power and its limits. His expectations — that others will obey him automatically, that the universe itself will acquiesce to his wishes — are thwarted again and again. Yet with each snub or disappointment, this king actually appears to be learning and gaining perspective, giving the book an unusually thoughtful, philosophical backbone.
The King and the sea has a subtitle :
21 Extremely Short Stories
Yes this is what you will find inside this amazing book. Twenty-one stories ranging in length from 2 lines up to 12. This is quite a philosophical book but one that I think will appeal to mature children who are prepared to think deeply about the ideas presented here.
I think this is my favourite story :
The King and the Sky
"I need a blanket', said the king. 'This minute!
And make it a good one.'
With that it began to snow.
Soft flakes fell around him.
'There's your blanket,' said the sky as it covered the
landscape in glittering white.
The king gazed in wonder. 'Thank you,' he said."
You might like to read this review. With a class you could perhaps read one story each day and follow this with a discussion. It might be good to compile a list of discussion questions taken from these daily readings and perhaps publish these for other classes to explore. Here are a set of teaching notes.