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King Hugo's Huge Ego

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  433 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
From a master of visual comedy comes the royally satisfying tale of a head swollen out of proportion and a blowhard brought down to earth.

Hugo is a tiny king with a very large ego. But when he mistreats a villager who also happens to be a sorceress, the spell she casts causes his head to literally swell. The more he boasts, the bigger it gets, until it finally topples the
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Candlewick Press
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Pam Howell
Oh King Hugo, you made me laugh, you made me want to read you out loud to hear the magical lilt of your text audible. I loved every bit of the fifteen minutes I read about you King Hugo, and all the times I have read you since then... you are after all a highly re-readable book.

Guys I know it's not very often I talk about picture books here; and by not very often I mean never, but sometimes you read one and it stands out and begs to be talked about and Hugo is one of those books. The author ill
Nov 21, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
So timely! Lots to think about when it comes to pride and self-centeredness, especially in those who have power. And fun and funny and illustrative to boot! I love Chris Van Dusen.

My one complaint about this book is is...spoiler alert!...

that the ending is not only completely unlikely,

but also an old trope I hate:

"Women, marry the guy, and then he'll be what you want him to be!" OR "The love of a good woman makes me a better man."

Jane LoBosco
Feb 26, 2015 Jane LoBosco rated it really liked it
King Hugo's Huge Ego is a wonderful book that will teach kids all of the benefits of humility. This book is a very humorous story that students will thoroughly enjoy reading. I loved getting to follow this story, and see all of the wonderful illustrations throughout the book. King Hugo, as the title may suggest, has one very large ego.Hugo, even though he is the king, walks around with quite the big head. Hugo makes lots of people angry with his behavior, and makes one person so angry that they ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 23, 2011 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Hugo was a very short king with a big ego. He made his people listen to him talk about how wonderful he was for hours. He made his people bow to him each time he walked past. A peasant girl, Tess, was walking down the road with a heavy load. Hugo was behind her and his servants ordered her to move off the road. Tess told the king to go around her. This infuriated the king and the servants bumped Tess into the gutter. Tess, it turns out, is a witch, She was so angry with the king that she put a ...more
Hayley Swanson
Jan 17, 2015 Hayley Swanson rated it it was ok
Hugo is a king who is excessively arrogant, and is eventually cursed by a witch so that his head would grow physically larger with each egotistical thing he said about himself. His head becomes massive, and he demands the witch remove the curse. When she explains why she put it on him, he claims to be humble. He then has all the arrogant things he's said about himself expelled from his ears, deflating his head and causing him embarrassment at the things he's said. He humbly apologizes to the ...more
Karina Arroyo
Oct 18, 2012 Karina Arroyo rated it really liked it
I found this story to be really interesting as it depics the story of a King who has a bigt ego and his head begins to grow every time he acts horribly selfish and too into himself. His head throughout the book continues to get really big until it begins to slowly deflade with all of the bad things he said coming out. In the end, he gets married and becomes a better man. This is an ending that i did not expect but i really liked it because it made the story a happy story in the end. I enjoyed ...more
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Grades K-3

King Hugo may be short in stature, but he has a very over-inflated view of himself. His subjects let him get away with his self-centeredness, but when he tangles with a maiden who's carrying a big load of hay, it's a different story. She's actually a sorceress in disguise, and she puts a Pinocchio-like spell on him: every boast, every inconsiderate act, causes his head to grow a little bigger. Eventually, his head grows to the size of a balloon and a gust of wind sends him floating ov
Feb 20, 2012 L12_Robyn rated it really liked it
King Hugo’s Huge Ego by Chris Van Dusen is about a king with an ego too big for his head. He enjoys talking to his people about how great he is and just why his people should like him. This continues until he meets a young lady named Tessa. Tessa casts a spell on King Hugo that is quite funny. Every time he showed his ego by bragging or carrying on about himself, his head would grow. This continues until his head was just huge! But of course in every story where there is a lesson to be learned, ...more
Dec 03, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
A thoroughly humorous and enjoyable picture book. Tiny King Hugo does have a stupendously huge ego and he's a bit thoughtless and rude besides. But he's not an altogether bad sort just ... unaware. When he is rude to witch she places a curse that his head will grow a bit every time he praises himself. And even then he admires his constantly growing head finding it hugely magnificent! Until.. well... circumstances, weather and the witch intervene again. Of course, he eventually learns his lesson ...more
Evan Williamson
Aug 06, 2014 Evan Williamson rated it liked it
There’s really three things I can use to judge this book: art, story, and characters. Let’s do this.

The art of King Hugo’s Huge Ego is charming. I get the feeling of Disney animation with these drawings and colors, shapes varying and landscapes that are pretty. It’s really pretty book thing.

The story in the book is bland. An aesop about a witch who curses a king, you have all read this before. What is particularly saddening is the quick turn at the end where everybody feels bad, falls in love an
Aug 24, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it
King Hugo thought a lot of himself -- so much so that he annoyed everyone he met. But when he bullied a lady who happened to be a sorceress, she put a spell on him to make his head grow whenever he acted conceited. Of course, King Hugo's head started growing. And growing. He thought his big head was just fine until one day it blew away like a balloon in a high wind.

An amusing rhyme story, illustrated by the author in bright, splashy colors and an almost-cartoonish style that will appeal to all a
Dec 15, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
In rhyming text, the author tells the cautionary tale of King Hugo, a ruler with diminutive stature but an out-of-size sense of self-esteem. His carelessness when he encounters a sorceress prompts her to put a curse on him that results in his head growing every time he brags about himself. It requires her intervention for him to get the point that he has become insufferable and possesses an outlandish ego. All ends well as the two marry. The gouache illustrations add to the book's fun with huge ...more
Kimberly Parrott
Sep 17, 2012 Kimberly Parrott rated it really liked it
I picked this book for the illustrations that i saw while flipping through it. The images are humorous and colorful and would easily catch a child's attention. The plot of the arrogant king whose head grows in size after each remark about how great is really send a good message to kids to not be too arrogant. The king's head grew and grew due to the sorceress he had knocked over and eventually he met her again and she explained to him what he had done and he listened to all the things he had ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Magila rated it really liked it

This was a fun, well written rhyming story about a king who was totally full of himself. The illustrations did not let the story down; they were colorful and expressive. One or two pages induced belly laughs, my personal favorite being when the king's head was stuck in the castle.

I believe this might be one of the single best books out there dealing with the issue of self-centeredness. For that theme, I haven't found anything better.

My main issues were that I would have liked it to have end
A short little snot is King Hugo. A horrible short king with an ego so large. All his subjects disposed him and wished he'd go.
If they could theyy put him on a barge. Send him up creek where he'd sit and itch. In ambush of ivy that made him scratch.
He crossed paths with the local witch. That mistake a spell did hatch. Every time he spoke of his wonderfulness.
His cranium did incredibly expand. He got himself in such a mess. That his personality became beige and bland.
What was our king to do? Fi
Sep 25, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
4.5 Incredibly haughty King Hugo is poxed by a farm girl and his head grows and grows...and grows each time he brags.

"Long ago, when people spoke
with words like "thou" and "thee,"
there lived a king named Hugo
who was only three foot three.

And though this mini monarch
stood no higher than an elf,
his ego was enormous --
he thought highly of himself."

Such rhyme. Such rhythm. What great illustrations - my favorite: Tessa (a sorceress), after being bumped into the river, is grubby, shoeless (a dog is st
Margaret Chind
Jan 25, 2012 Margaret Chind rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Margaret by: Candlewick Press
This is a great one for the pictures and for reading outloud. It is along the same storylines as The Emperor's New Clothes in that the person in question should bring themselves down a notch or two and pay attention to what is really happening around them. The story and pictures overall are quite amusing and I can just imagine the giggles this would bring from my neices and nephews even though it is a bit older for my toddler.

Definitely recommended for fun.

Typed on NookColor.
Thanks to Candlewi
Aug 23, 2011 Emilyn rated it really liked it
I really enjoy this book, though I think it's a bit above my 2 year old's head. The story of King Hugo and his huge ego is written in verse. King Hugo is full of himself, and when he crosses paths with a sorceress, she casts a spell on him that makes the size of his head match the size of his ego. This book uses many more "big" words than a normal picture book, and it explains the rarely used words in the same verse in which they are used. It's been awhile (if ever) since I've seen a picture ...more
Destinee Sutton
Oct 30, 2011 Destinee Sutton rated it really liked it
Delightful rhyming tale of a stuck-up king who messes with the wrong magical lady. She casts a spell so that his head will grow every time he says something haughty. Pretty soon it's disgustingly huge! Finally, our king and sorceress meet again and not only does he learn his lesson, he finds love. Aw. I think this will kill at pajama story time. The illustrations really grossed me out as the king's head got all sloppy and sweaty and swollen, but I think it will mesmerize the kids. I also love to ...more
Jessica Harrison
Nov 12, 2011 Jessica Harrison rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, picture
Review via Cracking the Cover

Anyone who has ever had to deal with someone else’s overconfidence will get a kick out of Chris Van Dusen’s hilarious story. It’s a great lesson on being humble without being saccharine or preachy. Chris’ tale easily rolls off the tongue and his laugh-inducing illustrations are just what this tale needs.
Oct 23, 2012 Alexis rated it it was amazing
Cute! This is a primary rated childrens book. Well written by Chris Van Dusen, King Hugo's Huge Ego is about a very self indulged king who is cursed when he encounters a common woman and his head keeps growing and growing and growing. The illustrations are wonderful and very vivid. I really enjoyed reading this book. I think it is very cute and a good read for children. I enjoy books that send a message to the readers. I would definantly use this book in the classrooom to help teach character.
Christie Lee
Feb 18, 2015 Christie Lee rated it really liked it
This book has wonderful illustrations and a great story about being cocky and boastful. There are several words that would have to be front-loaded to the students, since they are Tier 3 type words, however, the illustrations will help the students define pretty accurately. This is a great lead in activity for a lesson on social skills, character traits, etc. and would definitely grab the students' attentions. The kids will really enjoy the expressive pictures, as I have.
Maria Burel
Nov 01, 2012 Maria Burel rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
King Hugo’s Huge Ego reads like a fairytale, about a king whose ego is so big it knocks out of the way anyone who gets in its path. Except for an (apparently) lowly villager named Tessa. Unbeknownst to the king, Tessa is actually an enchantress and the spell she puts upon dear ol’ Hugo teaches him a lesson in humility…eventually. With classically humorous illustrations, rhyming text, and a happily ever after ending, Van Dusen tells a story that is equal parts wise and entertaining.
Audrey's Picture Books
Apr 16, 2016 Audrey's Picture Books rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Personally, I'm lukewarm on this book. It's a competently written, fun read, but I don't think it's anything special. My kindergarteners disagree. They adore this book. They beg me to read it every single day; they pore over it every time they finish their work early. And this state of affairs has lasted a couple of months--ever since I first read it it to them. Their love for this book is undying. All in all, maybe there's something special about it after all.
Shanshad Whelan
Sep 19, 2011 Shanshad Whelan rated it it was ok
I just can't like this one. Pictures are neat, but the message of the story? Our guy is an arrogant jerk until a farmer's daughter takes him down a peg or two with a curse that allows his inflated sense of self to truly inflate his head to ridiculous proportions. When she "deflates" him he is contrite and proposes marriage, which she accepts--apparently arrogant jerks can magically change in to lovable puppy dogs.

I prefer Rapunzel's Daughter in this case.
Apr 27, 2012 KP rated it it was amazing
Chris van Dusen has written and illustrated an adorable book! This is a 2011 best picture book of the year for me. My children love it. I love it. I think you will love it too. Published by Candlewick Press, King Hugo’s Huge Ego comes out this Tuesday, July 26th, 2011.

See the video review at
Gwen the Librarian
I'm always a fan of Chris Van Dusen's illustrations, and here they are as wonderful as ever with a truly ridiculous subject to illuminate. On the other hand, the story is fun but the cadence of the rhymes is sometimes tricky to read aloud and slows the book down a bit too much to be a truly great book.
Jun 30, 2015 Relyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: I love this author.
Chris Van Dusen is always a hit. His art is fantastic and his stories make kids giggle. Loved it.

Classroom Connections
- Character lessons on humility
- Practice discovering the heart of the story
- Example in Writer's Workshop for how to write a story with a a moral
- Super-fun read aloud
King Hugo's Huge Ego is a rhyming story that tells of the story of Hugo and his affection for himself. A sorceress causes the King's head to grow so that he will learn a lesson about his attitude. The story teaches students about boasting and being humble. This would be good for all ages of elementary students. I think the discussions could be varied based on the age group.
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Chris Van Dusen writes: “I was born in Portland, Maine, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1960. As a child, my brothers and I would spend hours drawing pictures. We didn’t have video games or computers to entertain us, so we drew instead. One of my brothers would sketch intricate war scenes. Another would draw animals so realistic you’d swear they were breathing. My specialty was aliens, robots, and monsters. ...more
More about Chris Van Dusen...

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