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King Hugo’s Huge Ego · Candlewick Press 2011

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Hugo is a tiny king with a very large ego. But when he mistreats the wrong villager – a sorceress – the spell she casts literally causes his head to swell. The more he boasts, the bigger it gets, finally toppling the mini monarch right off his castle. King Hugo’s Huge Ego is sometimes fairy-tale, sometimes cautionary, and always laugh-out-loud funny.

Excerpts from Reviews

“Readers are treated to a terrific melange of satire, slapstick, and caricature, all served up with expert comic timing. Van Dusen may be puncturing the myth of infallible monarchy, but readers will have no trouble pledging obeisance to his comic majesty.” ~ Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A delicious tall tale. Mr. Van Dusen gives himself full comic rein in his ebullient gouache illustrations. Children will relish the king’s comeuppance.” ~ The Wall Street Journal

“Boisterous, eye-popping illustrations.” ~ The New York Times

Personal Notes

The idea for “King Hugo’s Huge Ego” came from a couple of different places. Being a HUGE Dr. Seuss fan, I kept thinking about some of his early books that featured a king named Derwin and a boy named Bartholomew. They were basically fairy-tales. I thought I’d like to try something like that, too.

The other thing that lead to HUGO came from my book “The Circus Ship”. That was the first book in which I added a villain and I had so much fun with that character (aptly named Mr. Paine!) that I decided to challenge myself: could I write a book where the main character is a villain? I’m not sure King Hugo is technically a villain, but he starts off being not such a nice guy!