Linda Ashman

children's book author, mom, wife, writing instructor, animal lover, gardener, vegetarian . . .



"Being a parent is a soul job, a real calling. I can imagine parents and children reading this beautiful book together. Like any good children's book, it says more than it would appear to, and it speaks to adults as well as children. Read it again and again until its truth settles in." THOMAS MOORE, psychologist and bestselling author of Care of the Soul and other acclaimed books

"A dashing king and beautiful queen have all that money can buy. Life is good, but "happily ever after" is a brass ring that's still beyond their reach. They sense that something is missing. So they turn their backs on their riches and set up house in a tiny cottage in the forest green--there the queen gives birth to a baby, and their circle of love is complete." A Missourian Book Buzz Pick

"This attractive picture book has undeniable appeal. The paintings--in a rich yet diverse palette--glow with warmth while the wistful verse is written with immediacy. While this is an idealized depiction of family life, youngsters will find nothing but comfort in these pages." Kirkus

"A king who has everything and a pirate queen who's been everywhere fall in love and marry. But riches and adventure aren't enough. Only the arrival of their beloved child and a simple family life bring them fulfillment. Wingerter's richly colored paintings evoke a Renassance fantasy, and Ashman's pleasing rhyme makes this fairy tale a great read-aloud, sure to thrill young listeners with its theme of just how much they are adored." Newhouse News Service

"A romanticized view of parenthood underlies this fantasy told in folk tale style. Large luminous paintings fill most pages, complementing the idealized version of becoming a family. A quiet story for sharing with young children." Children's Literature
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Illustrations 2006 by Linda Wingerter. With permission of Dutton.

Author's Note

Long, long ago, when your papa was king,
With a fabulous castle and throne,
He spent every day chasing dragons away
And ruled the whole world on his own.

His clothing was splendid.
His carriage was gold.
His gardens and stables a sight to behold.
And yet, despite all the fine things that he had,
He sometimes felt lonely and sad.

Even a king can feel sad.

I wrote this book when Jackson was very small, still marvelling at the miracle of parenthood (okay, I still do that). I'd hold him in my arms or look at his sweet sleeping face, and hear the refrain "what could be better than this?" To which the answer was always "nothing is better than this."

As any parent will tell you, having a child is a transformative experience. Your priorities change; the center of the universe shifts to this tiny being who relies on you for everything. And who, eventually, takes your hand--and with slow, unsteady steps--shows you a brand new world. Actually, it's the same imperfect world it always was, but you see it in an entirely different and magical way through the grace of your new tour guide.

Linda Wingerter is an incredibly talented artist, and her paintings for this book are gorgeous. I love how the deep, royal palette she uses in the beginning of the book softens into equally rich but more muted tones with the arrival of the baby. For more information about Linda and her beautiful books, visit Linda's website here.

Teaching Themes: parental love, becoming a parent, different types of adventures, life transitions, stories in rhyme. Download teaching ideas below:


Brand New
"A go-to source of calm and comfort." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In Print
"Altogether delightful." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Excellent advice in a sweet and easy-to-swallow package." KIRKUS
"A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Ashman's concept is both sophisticated and delightful." KIRKUS
"Beautifully crafted and satisfying." Starred Review, BOOKLIST
"Kids will love the colorful paintings while parents will appreciate that it's chock full of facts about the Centennial State." VAIL DAILY
A "lovely reverie on the joys of being alive and being loved." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"As pithy and clever as Ogden Nash at his best." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A splendid bedtime fantasy." KIRKUS
Other Titles
"Ashman's poetic portraits are packed with lots of tasty assonance and alliteration." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Quirky, sarcastic, and rather educational, too." BOOKLIST
"A 10 on the "aw"-inspiring scale." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A family outing gone hilariously awry." BOOKLIST
"A rip-roaring, exciting excursion." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
An "enchanting ride." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"The clever, rhyming text bounces along with perfect cadence." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A riotous adventure." HORN BOOK MAGAZINE
"Vibrant, playful text . . . excellent for storytimes." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A hilarious look at the world through the sharp eyes and nose of a dog." SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
"This one's a keeper." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Youngsters will find nothing but comfort in these pages." KIRKUS
"Ashman captures the non-stop action in rollicking rhyme." KIRKUS
A "captivating collaboration." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A lighthearted look at bad behavior." KIRKUS
Wagmore is "a charming, gentle hero." KIRKUS REVIEWS