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The Cook and the King

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There once was a very hungry king Who needed a cook like anything . . . . . . but the king is very fussy, and none of the cooks he tries can make a dish that tastes just right. Then the most unlikely of chefs comes along: the shuffling, shaking Wobbly Bob. He’s scared of everything, from catching fish to digging for potatoes, but can he convince the hungry king to give him t There once was a very hungry king Who needed a cook like anything . . . . . . but the king is very fussy, and none of the cooks he tries can make a dish that tastes just right. Then the most unlikely of chefs comes along: the shuffling, shaking Wobbly Bob. He’s scared of everything, from catching fish to digging for potatoes, but can he convince the hungry king to give him the job? The Cook and the King is a brilliantly funny story from the fantastic picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, creators of Tyrannosaurus Drip. With clever rhyming verse and richly detailed illustrations, this is sure to become a firm favourite with children and adults alike.


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There once was a very hungry king Who needed a cook like anything . . . . . . but the king is very fussy, and none of the cooks he tries can make a dish that tastes just right. Then the most unlikely of chefs comes along: the shuffling, shaking Wobbly Bob. He’s scared of everything, from catching fish to digging for potatoes, but can he convince the hungry king to give him t There once was a very hungry king Who needed a cook like anything . . . . . . but the king is very fussy, and none of the cooks he tries can make a dish that tastes just right. Then the most unlikely of chefs comes along: the shuffling, shaking Wobbly Bob. He’s scared of everything, from catching fish to digging for potatoes, but can he convince the hungry king to give him the job? The Cook and the King is a brilliantly funny story from the fantastic picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, creators of Tyrannosaurus Drip. With clever rhyming verse and richly detailed illustrations, this is sure to become a firm favourite with children and adults alike.

30 review for The Cook and the King

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)

    As soon as I saw this was so excited to see it was written by Julia Donaldson! My kids absolutely adore her books. And as suspected, my son (and even my 1 year old daughter) loved reading it! It is now the number one requested book in our house! I have had to read it to them twice today already! The hungry king needs a new cook! But Wobbly Bob is a bit scared. Of EVERYTHING! Will he get the job of the new cook even though he seems to be too scared to even cut chips? Its a cute and delightful witty As soon as I saw this was so excited to see it was written by Julia Donaldson! My kids absolutely adore her books. And as suspected, my son (and even my 1 year old daughter) loved reading it! It is now the number one requested book in our house! I have had to read it to them twice today already! The hungry king needs a new cook! But Wobbly Bob is a bit scared. Of EVERYTHING! Will he get the job of the new cook even though he seems to be too scared to even cut chips? Its a cute and delightful witty story about the hungry king’s search for a new cook. The illustrations are colourful, beautiful and the rhymes are heaps of fun! My son loves the ending of the story and laughs every time! He loves it when the cook exclaims “I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m terribly scared!” Easily a 5 star read for the whole family! Loads of fun! Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for a copy of The Cook and the King for my kids and I to review! For more reviews check out my Blog Facebook Instagram Twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    James

    Another good story from the prolific pen of Julia Donaldson - this time accompanied by fun illustrations by David Roberts. Written in Donaldson's usual accomplished style, but without the illustrations normally provided by her usual collaborator Axel Scheffler - this somehow lacks the magic of classic Donaldson/Scheffler. A fun and entertaining read though. Another good story from the prolific pen of Julia Donaldson - this time accompanied by fun illustrations by David Roberts. Written in Donaldson's usual accomplished style, but without the illustrations normally provided by her usual collaborator Axel Scheffler - this somehow lacks the magic of classic Donaldson/Scheffler. A fun and entertaining read though.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I might be getting old but I haven’t regressed into children’s story books and one single verb sentences. Old folk were kids however, some even had the delight of reading to their children and in later life still the joy of sharing books with grandchildren. Julia Donaldson is a recognised author of children’s stories. The Gruffalo being one most kids know without fail. So we are talking about a writer with some nous and clout. It seems her skills of making up stories has been passed onto her son w I might be getting old but I haven’t regressed into children’s story books and one single verb sentences. Old folk were kids however, some even had the delight of reading to their children and in later life still the joy of sharing books with grandchildren. Julia Donaldson is a recognised author of children’s stories. The Gruffalo being one most kids know without fail. So we are talking about a writer with some nous and clout. It seems her skills of making up stories has been passed onto her son who recounts his own made up tales at bedtime. The result of all this talent is The Cook and the King. I had not heard of it prior to reading it and I am not aware it is the name of a pub. It is a marvellously funny and repetitive story that will enthuse and assist children as they listen to the words. They form a familiar rhythm as the story progresses and once you start reading it you almost immediately feel you’ve read it before. Common words are hungry king, anything, I’m scared and I’ll help you. As in tales of trying to find a prince for a daughter here the king exhausts the finish cooks in the land. He samples the dishes and none are exactly right. Then he notices a timid fellow in cook’s attire who would love the job but at each turn doesn’t have the confidence or courage to perform even the simplest of tasks. The poor fellow even gets the king to share perfect meal idea and if he could serve it to the king the prestigious job would surely be his. What follows is an insight into a modern way of working together; in the process both have fun and I’m guessing the king as never been more content with his monarchy and office. As with all brilliant children’s books the final words are missing. You will have to listen carefully but a little voice will say “Again.” and if not too tired “Again please.” A sure winner can’t fail to please and motivate kids to read and learn. Warning before reading this book to a child please obtain the parent/guardian’s permission first.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Almira

    The King is VERY hungry, and needs a cook, interviews several, none up to his standard, then along comes Wobbly Bob, who is a "bit of a wimp, but I'd love the job". And away they go...……. The illustrations are quite humorous, as is the dialogue..... The King is VERY hungry, and needs a cook, interviews several, none up to his standard, then along comes Wobbly Bob, who is a "bit of a wimp, but I'd love the job". And away they go...……. The illustrations are quite humorous, as is the dialogue.....

  5. 5 out of 5

    Figgy

    Review to come. It's a cute little story with a good rhythm, but there seems to be something lacking in terms of what we have come to expect from Julia's work. It's still good fun and kids will still enjoy it, but it's not up there with some of her other work. This would be a good one for Donaldson's younger fans, as there is quite a lot of repetition, with the same routine (and similar wording) - of the king telling the cook what to do, the cook saying how scared he was, and the king doing the job Review to come. It's a cute little story with a good rhythm, but there seems to be something lacking in terms of what we have come to expect from Julia's work. It's still good fun and kids will still enjoy it, but it's not up there with some of her other work. This would be a good one for Donaldson's younger fans, as there is quite a lot of repetition, with the same routine (and similar wording) - of the king telling the cook what to do, the cook saying how scared he was, and the king doing the job himself - being repeated four times in this short book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donna Maguire

    Review to follow!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I saw where it was going fairly early on, but it was really enjoyable and entertaining watching it unfold, despite the fact that I HATE RHYMING BOOKS.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deb in UT

    This is the favorite of the books I've read to Alena the past two days. It's funny. I like the illustrations. I would like to read more by this author and illustrator. This is the favorite of the books I've read to Alena the past two days. It's funny. I like the illustrations. I would like to read more by this author and illustrator.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    This is really cute and I love the illustrations style.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Allie Outhouse

    Poor rhyming, syntax, plot and illustrations were not my cup of tea. "Like anything" is not the most appealing descriptor, particularly for the elected activities. Poor rhyming, syntax, plot and illustrations were not my cup of tea. "Like anything" is not the most appealing descriptor, particularly for the elected activities.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth Rodgers

    'The Cook and the King' by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts, is a cute story that shows how working together, and sometimes working alone with someone by your side, can lead to success. When the King hires Wobbly Bob to be his new cook, he gets more than he bargained for. Wobbly Bob tells the King from the moment he is hired that he is a “bit of a wimp” but would love the job. The King, eager to have someone fill the position, takes Bob on, but soon he finds himself catching the fis 'The Cook and the King' by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts, is a cute story that shows how working together, and sometimes working alone with someone by your side, can lead to success. When the King hires Wobbly Bob to be his new cook, he gets more than he bargained for. Wobbly Bob tells the King from the moment he is hired that he is a “bit of a wimp” but would love the job. The King, eager to have someone fill the position, takes Bob on, but soon he finds himself catching the fish, chopping potatoes, frying everything up, and more. Wobbly Bob is too scared to do any of these things. The King, though, takes on the challenge, encouraging Wobbly Bob to let him help. In the end, the final product is made by the King, but he is shown to have enjoyed the process of working with Bob to do the work and make the food, priding Bob (and himself, by extension) on a job well done. Also author of 'The Gruffalo,' Julia Donaldson has a knack for fitting words together and working with her illustrators to make the images spring to life. This book does well with that, and it captures a lot of themes, from kindness and growth to teamwork and independence. Donaldson also uses a nice amount of rhyming and repetition to make the book accessible to young readers. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen' and 'Sweet Fifteen,' Young Adult Novels *Review originally posted at YABooksCentral.com*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marathon County Public Library

    In this new fairy tale, a hungry king needs to find a cook. After trying many cooks and rejecting them all, he ends up with Wobbly Bob. The king then asks for his favorite dish—fish and chips—but Wobbly Bob is “terribly scared” about every aspect of food preparation. The king looks sympathetically on the shaking cook and helps him to prepare the meal. Through the pictures, readers see that the king really enjoys catching the fish and chopping up potatoes for chips. When they finally sit down to In this new fairy tale, a hungry king needs to find a cook. After trying many cooks and rejecting them all, he ends up with Wobbly Bob. The king then asks for his favorite dish—fish and chips—but Wobbly Bob is “terribly scared” about every aspect of food preparation. The king looks sympathetically on the shaking cook and helps him to prepare the meal. Through the pictures, readers see that the king really enjoys catching the fish and chopping up potatoes for chips. When they finally sit down to eat, he decides Wobbly Bob is the perfect cook for him! I appreciated the elements borrowed from classic fairy tales present in the repetition of Wobbly Bob’s speech and the tasks of preparing the king’s meal. Colorful, eccentric details in the illustrations - like one fierce-looking cook and a Viking longship - intrigued me as well. Rhyming text makes this a great book to read out loud! Elizabeth L. / Marathon County Public Library

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    A king in search of a royal cook auditions a chef who is afraid of everything, and together they make fish and chips. Set in a pseudo-medieval kingdom, a finicky king is unable to find a cook to his liking until Wobbly Bob applies for the job. To test his culinary skills, the king requests he make fish and chips, and Wobbly Bob is so nervous that the king agrees to help him. His majesty ends up doing most of the work without realizing it. Naturally, he is pleased with the meal and hires Wobbly Bo A king in search of a royal cook auditions a chef who is afraid of everything, and together they make fish and chips. Set in a pseudo-medieval kingdom, a finicky king is unable to find a cook to his liking until Wobbly Bob applies for the job. To test his culinary skills, the king requests he make fish and chips, and Wobbly Bob is so nervous that the king agrees to help him. His majesty ends up doing most of the work without realizing it. Naturally, he is pleased with the meal and hires Wobbly Bob as the royal chef. The text has a strong rhyme scheme with repetitive phrases. This is a silly story with no real moral. Picky eaters may relate to the king's predicament in not enjoying the meals that they are served and wish to make their own meals.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cornmaven

    Cute picture book that is a twist on the Little Red Hen. Hungry king doesn't like any of the dishes various cooks serve him. He tries out another cook, who is a "wimp", and the wimp gets the king to do all of the prep work, AND the cooking. At the end, the cook, still clueless, shares the meal with the cook and hires him. Illustrations by David Roberts (of Rosie Revere Engineer fame) are awesome. Lots of movement, lots to look at and explore. They follow the story well. My only hesitation about th Cute picture book that is a twist on the Little Red Hen. Hungry king doesn't like any of the dishes various cooks serve him. He tries out another cook, who is a "wimp", and the wimp gets the king to do all of the prep work, AND the cooking. At the end, the cook, still clueless, shares the meal with the cook and hires him. Illustrations by David Roberts (of Rosie Revere Engineer fame) are awesome. Lots of movement, lots to look at and explore. They follow the story well. My only hesitation about this book is the fact that I felt the rhyme of "like anything" to "king" is one that I don't think kids will even understand that idiom. Maybe I'm wrong. Because it's a necessary repetitive phrase, the very first rhyme on page 1 would have to be restructured.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    In this humorous, rhyming book, a king shows off cooking skills he doesn't know he has. Great illustrations and a classic feel. Veg*n parents note: The major storyline involves preparing fish and chips. We see the cook and the king going out to see on a boat and capturing fishes in a net. Later, we see dead fish (with X-ed out eyes) being fried in a pan. Finally, the fish are eaten by the cook and the king. Veg*n families may want to preview this one and decide if they'd rather choose a book that In this humorous, rhyming book, a king shows off cooking skills he doesn't know he has. Great illustrations and a classic feel. Veg*n parents note: The major storyline involves preparing fish and chips. We see the cook and the king going out to see on a boat and capturing fishes in a net. Later, we see dead fish (with X-ed out eyes) being fried in a pan. Finally, the fish are eaten by the cook and the king. Veg*n families may want to preview this one and decide if they'd rather choose a book that more closely reflects their values.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    A king wants a cook who will cook his meals exactly the way that he likes them. Scads of aspiring royal chefs audition without any luck, but it's Wobbly Bob (afraid of absolutely everything) who inadvertently reveals the solution. (view spoiler)[The king can very well cook for himself if he's going to be so picky. (hide spoiler)] Just don't tell Wobbly Bob or the king: one would fear the outcome, and the other would likely pout. It's funny, a joy to read with a steady cadence and good rhymes, and A king wants a cook who will cook his meals exactly the way that he likes them. Scads of aspiring royal chefs audition without any luck, but it's Wobbly Bob (afraid of absolutely everything) who inadvertently reveals the solution. (view spoiler)[The king can very well cook for himself if he's going to be so picky. (hide spoiler)] Just don't tell Wobbly Bob or the king: one would fear the outcome, and the other would likely pout. It's funny, a joy to read with a steady cadence and good rhymes, and nicely illustrated with detailed drawings.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    It will only take the adult reading this to their child until halfway to know the real moral behind the story, but rest assured this is such a wonderful book they'd better get used to it, as they'll be reading it more than a few times. I might not have given the artwork itself a full five stars – rather a decent four, with some fun details – but the bounce of the rhyming text and the fun of the simple tale come with timeless appeal. It will only take the adult reading this to their child until halfway to know the real moral behind the story, but rest assured this is such a wonderful book they'd better get used to it, as they'll be reading it more than a few times. I might not have given the artwork itself a full five stars – rather a decent four, with some fun details – but the bounce of the rhyming text and the fun of the simple tale come with timeless appeal.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Another rip-snorter from Ms. Donaldson, and nice to see her words visualised by a different artist this time. The kids (and wife) loved this book like anything. Almost as much as the Gruffalo. By the time we needed to return it to the library, Jack had memorised the text in record time. (He has a great stalling technique too – asking me to identify everything in the garden in the “dig” two-page spread). Interesting story to go with the rhymes, too, ripe for lots of contextual analysis. 10/10

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cara Byrne

    "There once was a very hungry king/Who needed a cook like anything./So he tried out lots and lots of cooks/With their pots and their pans and their how-to-cook books." And so starts a book about a king who desperately wants to find a cook who can prepare a meal to his liking, but with time, readers learn that if you want something done to your exact liking, you should do it yourself. A sweet story, though it doesn't flow as easily as some of Donaldson's other books. "There once was a very hungry king/Who needed a cook like anything./So he tried out lots and lots of cooks/With their pots and their pans and their how-to-cook books." And so starts a book about a king who desperately wants to find a cook who can prepare a meal to his liking, but with time, readers learn that if you want something done to your exact liking, you should do it yourself. A sweet story, though it doesn't flow as easily as some of Donaldson's other books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lee Peckover

    This is a nicely illustrated and well written quick read that young children will definitely enjoy. There is nothing revolutionary going on here and this isn't one of Julia Donaldson's finest works but none of that really matters when it's a book children will enjoy and will want to read again and again. This is a nicely illustrated and well written quick read that young children will definitely enjoy. There is nothing revolutionary going on here and this isn't one of Julia Donaldson's finest works but none of that really matters when it's a book children will enjoy and will want to read again and again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Mason

    I really enjoyed this book about a king who couldn’t find the right cook and ended up cooking his own dinner because the last chef was too scared. Julia again uses lots of repetition which is effective for the children to join in with the story. This book shows how people could be scared of doing certain things as they would see the danger however the kind did it and was absolutely fine.

  22. 4 out of 5

    MK

    This is a very cute and beautifully illustrated picture book with rhymed sentences that bring little readers to explore the fear of the cook and the need of the king. I love how the author reverses the role of the king and cook that brings surprises and laughters. A great book to share with kids.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mere

    In this tale we meet a very hungry king and a scaredy cat cook. While I enjoyed reading this book I found the cook to be slightly to whiney. I realised that I wanted to spend more time with the king. The king might be hungry and is looking for a cook, but the king is a really good cook.

  24. 4 out of 5

    The Brothers

    A king is in need of a new cook, and begins the search with little result. At last he comes across a somewhat timid and frightened chef. The king proceeds to demonstrate for the chef all the ways he likes things cooks and ends up whipping together a pretty good meal. Illustrations are good.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    You know that feeling when someone asks you for help, then they do it all themselves anyways. Yep, that's kind of how "The Cook and the King" ends up. The king gets his way, and the cook still has no idea what he's doing. Lesson for parents anyone?? You know that feeling when someone asks you for help, then they do it all themselves anyways. Yep, that's kind of how "The Cook and the King" ends up. The king gets his way, and the cook still has no idea what he's doing. Lesson for parents anyone??

  26. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo

    My coworker suggested I read this and I'm happy that she did. This book is hilariously entertaining and a must-read to your children (or by your children) especially when it comes to being self-reliant and independent. My coworker suggested I read this and I'm happy that she did. This book is hilariously entertaining and a must-read to your children (or by your children) especially when it comes to being self-reliant and independent.

  27. 5 out of 5

    BrookesEducationLibrary

    Another amusing read from Julia Donaldson about a very hungry king in search of a new chef. This picture book embraces role-reversal, sharing and friendship :)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Paranoid chef leads king to discover his own culinary talents.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cáitín

    This story went down well with the children at story-time. I love anything from Julia Donaldson she has a way of weave a story which children love and always want more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    A king needs a cook and finds someone who might be able to do the job!

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