Baby book review: The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee and Pascal Campion

Baby librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review the night adventure The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion.

book cover of the paper kingdom

Marian reviews The Paper Kingdom

Marian with The Paper KingdomThis book is about a little boy named Daniel who likes paper and dragons. I like paper and dragons, too! I like to draw and make art with paper, and I like the dragon in Room on the Broom, and the dragons in this book too. But there’s a problem–people aren’t cleaning up after themselves. The office building is a mess! So Daniel’s Mama and Papa have to do it for them. I can relate to this because my Mama and Daddy have to pick up after me all the time. I throw my papers all over the ground like the office workers too. Mommy tries to trick me into cleaning them up by asking me if I think I’m able to clean them up. Of course I’m able to! I just don’t want to. Sometimes I do fall for her trick though because I like to be a big girl and do things by myself. She always says thank you when I’m done cleaning up, and that makes me feel good.

My favorite page is when Daniel cleans the bathroom with his papa. You can see dragon tails over the bathroom stalls! It’s very exciting. I also like the page at the beginning with all the paper strewn about the floor. I’ll have to try and do that tomorrow morning.

Margaret reviews The Paper Kingdom

We read this tonight as our bedtime book, and I’ll admit, even though I love the book, I was surprised Marian finished it and was still so engaged. It’s not a book for two-year-olds (I’d say 4-8), and we’re definitely going through a hyper stage. But we snuggled under the covers and she pointed out things she found interesting on every page and listened to every word.

Daniel’s parents work as night janitors. When Daniel’s Aunt Clara can’t make it one night to watch him while his parent’s work, he has to accompany them to the big office building where they clean at night. He’s sleepy and doesn’t want to go, but once there, his parents make up a magical story of the paper king and his domain filled with messy dragons. As he helps his parents clean and listens to their stories, he imagines himself as a king one day, and how he’ll make sure the dragons clean up after themselves, so that people like his parents won’t have to.

This is an own voices picture book, based on the author’s, Helena Ku Rhee’s, childhood. I remember accompanying both my parents to work growing up, but there was a big difference–they didn’t work the night shift. However, Daniel may be sleepy, but it’s clear he has two parents who love him very much. I love that this picture book focuses on the lives of working-class people.

The illustrations are gorgeous and I too like the page in the bathroom, how the possibility of dragons is reflected onto the floor. There’s a lot of excellent reflection work here! See some of the illustrations on our Instagram!


View this post on Instagram


It may only be February, but I’m pretty sure this will be on our favorite children’s books of the year list. Marian and I review it on the website today. It’s an #ownvoices picture book about a little boy who accompanies his parents to their job as night janitors. To make the night a less boring for him, his parents make up a story about a paper king and some messy dragons. It’s based on the author’s childhood. Check out our full review on the website. THE PAPER KINGDOM releases Tuesday! . . . . . #babylibrarians #riotgrams #thepaperkingdom #picturebook #picturebooks #picturebookillustration #picturebookart #childrensbooks #childrensbookillustration #childrensliterature #childrensbookstagram #kidlit #kidlitart #kidlitillustration #storybook #storybookart #yeskidsbookstagram #bedtimestories #bedtimereading #bedtimereads #newrelease #2020books #newbook #newbookstagram #bookreview #bookblogger #bookstagram #workingclass #weneeddiversebooks

A post shared by Baby Librarians (@babylibrarians) on

I would not be surprised if this makes it onto my best of 2020 list. But the year’s still early. 🙂

Leave a Reply