French / Switzerland
Le roi nu
(The naked king)
Andersen, Hans Christian
Genève: La Joie de Lire, 2018. – 34 p.
Vanity | Fashion | Cunning | Fairy tale | Picture book
White Ravens issue: 2019
Reading age: 5+
There once was a king who sunk all of his time and money not into affairs of state, but into… fancy clothes! With satirical twist and unbridled lust for invention – in the best tradition of the “ligne claire” – award-winning Swiss illustrator Albertine’s picture book delivers a subtle version of the famous Andersen fairy-tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. A child breaks the spell the adults are under and speaks the obvious truth out loud: The king, who pompously puts himself in the spotlight, is a not only human, he is – worse still – a (naked) dreamer, who lives in an alternate world that has nothing to do with the realities of his subjects. With gentle irony, Albertine unveils the monarch to be an eccentric fashion nut who – if things went his way – would rule from the runway rather than from the throne. In a captivating way, Albertine interprets this subversive fairy-tale as a masterpiece on the topic of manipulation and effective resistance.