The King of Mischief

Children - Concept
86 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Melissa Tanaka for Readers' Favorite

The King of Mischief by Devonia Reed is a delightful children’s book that tells the story of how just a little bit of love and support can make a huge difference. A nine-year-old boy named Maurice Wallace is the resident troublemaker in Ms. Henderson’s class, stealing test answers, turning in other kids' homework as his own, and pushing his work onto others during group projects. Maurice finds himself in big trouble when he and his friend Ryker pull the fire alarm and get caught by the principal. During his suspension, Maurice meets a man named Coach Wilborn and becomes a part of the basketball team. With the support of his coach and his team, Maurice begins to work harder, improving his grades, and becoming all around happier as he finds a new family of his own in his basketball team.

I simply cannot find enough good words to say about this book! With engaging illustrations and a heartwarming message, The King of Mischief is a reminder to children and parents alike about the importance of believing in oneself. In addition, Reed includes discussion questions to open and engage readers, whether it is in an educational setting or simply just for reading at home. Maurice blossoms under the attention of Coach Wilborn, who tells him, “I’ll bet you have some gifts that you don’t know you have. We still have time to figure it out.” It is the perfect message for any child who ever worries about their capabilities and reminds us that we still have strengths left to be discovered, no matter how old we may be.

Jack Magnus

The King of Mischief is a children's concept book written by Devonia Reed and illustrated by Emily Herchock. No one in Ms. Henderson's class wanted to be on a project with Maurice. He just didn't seem to care to get involved in the assignment, and he expected everyone else to do all the work. Kayden wasn't at all happy with the geography project she was working on -- Maurice was on her team, and, predictably, he was determined to take it easy and not participate. When she spoke to her mother about it, her mom suggested speaking to Ms. Henderson, but Kayden didn't feel good about snitching on a classmate. Maurice was busy getting in trouble in other ways as well. He and his best friend, Ryker, pulled a fire alarm stunt that got them suspended for three days. That was fine with Maurice. He would spend those days off playing games and eating snacks, but first he had to avoid his parents who knew about the suspension. That afternoon, he hung out with his friend Xavier at the gym, but all too soon, all the guys were going home. Maurice stayed behind, feeling rebellious and a bit scared at the same time. He was startled when a man came to tell him he was closing the gym. The man, Coach Wilborn, invited Maurice to come back the next day and to get involved with the basketball team he coached. It would take some dedication -- and he'd have to get his grades up -- but Maurice was intrigued and just knew he could do it.

Devonia Reed's children's concept book, The King of Mischief, is an uplifting, feel-good book that had me smiling throughout the story. I laughed at Maurice's pranks even while I remembered kids just like him at school, and I felt badly that he seemed so rootless at first. Coach Wilborn is a marvelous role model for Maurice, and seeing as Maurice blossoms under his tutelage and concern is what made this book so special for me. All Maurice needed was a role model, someone to look up to; someone who cared enough to expect the best from him. Emily Herchock's illustrations are superb and make this inspiring story come more fully to life. Her faces show character and expression and I found I was looking forward to seeing each new panel. The author’s discussion questions at the back of the book are well-thought-out and grand starting points for dialogue both in class and at home. The King of Mischief is most highly recommended.

Valerie Rouse

The King of Mischief is an interesting children’s book whose main character is Maurice, a naughty student. Maurice’s class teacher, Ms. Henderson, gives the students a group project to complete. One of Maurice’s classmates, Kayden, complains to her father about Maurice. She told him that she is tired of being involved in school projects without Maurice making a contribution. Clearly Maurice is troublesome. He was apprehended and suspended by the principal for pulling the school’s fire alarm and disrupting all the classes. Fortunately, Maurice met Coach Wilborn, the basketball coach at his school. He showed an interest in Maurice and encouraged him to do his best. As Maurice applied himself to his new sport, his academic grades improved immensely. He even participated in a poetry competition and was chosen to perform in front of the entire school assembly!

The King of Mischief contains a message of hope. Some media houses tend to portray young African American males as deviant troublemakers. Author Devonia Reed is suggesting that maybe, like Maurice, some young males need more attention from their parents or caregivers. This might preempt them indulging in illicit activities. In essence, many young people just need someone to connect with emotionally and help them build positive self images. The language used is simple and quite easy to understand. I love the colorful illustrations. This encourages the reader to become more engrossed in the story line. The plot has a fast, steady pace. I read the story in one sitting! This exemplifies the persuasive skills of the author. Overall, I enjoyed reading the King of Mischief. I recommend it to everyone, especially young readers.