Why did I love this book?
This is a fairy tale. I’ll state this upfront because at first glance, it’s a bit of a hard read. And why is it a hard read? Because—to me, anyway—it feels like wish-fulfillment fantasy on steroids. It’s like the rantings of a terribly abused boy. Of course, much fiction—especially fairytales which is this book’s genre—is wish fulfillment. But the story feels very uncomfortable. Mio is so over-the-top happy about having been transported into the kingdom of his father the king that one feels as if one is listening to a pitiful delusion. I found myself reading the book with two minds. One mind kept saying, “Dive into the reverie and joy of a boy who has found his dead father in a faraway land and who discovers that he’s important to the world.” And simultaneously, my other mind was thinking, “Oh my heavens! This little boy needed so much love. Was this story recorded at a mental hospital?” It’s very imaginative and beautiful and I suspect that a parent reading this story will feel a sadness about the story while the child being read to will feel something else entirely. But the parent will leave the reading session thinking about the need children have for love.