for choosing the book:
This is a wonderful moral fable about the relationship between rich countries
and a poor one, by one of the masters of the picture book form in the
English speaking world. The book was chosen because it provides a way
in which complex and difficult ideas about the relationship of nation
states can be understood by young children.
The over-thin King Lion addresses his people about the famine that has
overtaken their country. He suggests that they seek help from a rich nearby
kingdom. As King Lion and his Minister for Food approach the neighbouring
city, they are seized by guards and taken to Fat King. He treats them
as robbers and tries to lock them up. Fortunately, they escape but are
followed by Fat King's army who are too fat to fight properly. King Lion
sends a message to his animals to attack, and to the birds to drop seeds.
Then it begins to rain and, as a consequence, Fat King's army trucks get
stuck in the mud and churn up the land so that the seeds can grow! Finally,
King Lion realises that his enemy has helped them more than he realises
and all Fat King can do is ask 'What is the recipe for peace?'.
for use in school:
1. Examine how much of our food is grown in poor countries (eg by looking
at labels on tins.) Using a world map, show how what we eat comes from
all over the world, but mostly from small and poor countries.
2. Find out how much of the price of food is paid to the producer eg in
the case of bananas, it is only one or two per cent. Third world development
agencies can often provide information on these topics, and in some cases
they also sell goods (eg coffee) which pay a fair price to the producer.
3. At the end of the story, the Fat King asks what the recipe for peace
is. What might it be? What are the ingredients? How do they need to be
prepared? Children could be asked to write a story in the form of a recipe
which explores this theme.
Consider ways of alleviating conflict.
literature and language-based activities can be found in
Picture Books sans Frontières available