Kid’s Book Review: The King’s Birthday Suit

Kid’s Book Review: The King’s Birthday Suit

About the Book and Author

This is a clever, funny picture book written in verse by Peter Bently that re-tells of the classic fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor’s New Clothes. It contains wonderful illustrations by Claire Powell which provide lots of visual interest for any child who is listening to this amusing tale. It is published by Bloomsbury.


King's Birthday Suit cover
Peter Bentley author

Peter Bently is the award-winning author of many children’s books. These include The Great Dog Bottom Swap (shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize) and Cats Ahoy! (winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize).

Claire Powell is the illustrator of several picture books including Octopants (Hodder) and The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Kes Gray.

Book Review

We love that the children are from all different races and abilities so readers from all backgrounds can relate to the story

The King’s Birthday Suit is a retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes. Felix hadn’t heard the fable before.

Felix liked this book and has read it a few times now. He thought the front cover was very funny because: “The King is naked!” He thought the king changing his outfit for every single event was quite funny and ridiculous (especially when he changed his outfit just to go to the loo!) Felix was curious about the page where the king is behind the toilet door and only his shoes can be seen. He thought the shoes (seventies-style platforms) looked interesting and wondered what the rest of the outfit might look like. We spent time looking at the page where all the different fashion designers are lining up waiting to see the king, and discussed which designer we would pick to make clothes for us.

Felix’s mum thinks this is quite a challenging book for younger children in terms of vocabulary. There were some words and concepts that we needed to explore in order to fully understand the story (for example, fashion designer, weaving loom, dismay and jape). Felix learnt quite a bit as a result of this book chat! The book’s bright, detailed illustrations and rhyming verse make it very appealing.

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If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

Or, you can shop on-line and support our Kids Reviews page by sourcing your discounted book via this link

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!


Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Felix
  • Age: 5 years
  • Likes: Lego, stories and school
  • Dislikes: Brussel sprouts
  • Favourite Book: The Storm Whale by Benji Davies
  • Favourite Film: Dora and the Lost City of Gold
  • Favourite Song: Baby Shark