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The King with Six Friends

4.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
THE KING WITH SIX FRIENDS by Jay Williams, illustrated by Imero Gobbato (1968).
Hardcover, 38 pages
Published June 1968 by Macmillan Co.
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18th out of 19 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 231)
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Feb 10, 2008 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I find it difficult to accept that I am including a book I read when I was (perhaps) only five years old, but I still own this book, have read it numerous times since graduating high school, and continue to find it to be an absolutely fascinating book (albeit a children's book) in terms of the lessons it teaches.

The story revolves around a prince (who no longer has a country) who wishes to marry a princess who does have a country (so that he might gain a country thereby). Yes, that's right, the
Aug 20, 2008 Clackamas rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Clackamas by: Grandma Mary
I loved this book so much as a child. At the time it was the beautiful illustrations that attracted me more than anything, but I've always loved the story too. I still own this book and read it regularly.

I read another review that talked about how little the king did to gain his kingdom. Instead, he just ordered his friends around so that they could complete the challenges set before him. I agree with much of what the review's author says, but think that he missed one main lesson that the book
Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 30, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids ages 4 and up
A king without a country seeks his fortune, and along the way befriends some very interesting folks.
He hears a small voice crying out from an axe in a log, and when he frees it, the axe becomes a man named Edge. He removes a mouse from a terrified elephant's sight, and the elephant tranforms into a man with thick skin, large ears and little eyes, named Agus.

The king, named Zar, removes four birds nests, all filled with noisy baby birds, from a very weary tree which becomes a man named Furze. He
Apr 12, 2011 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, mythology
Once I opened this I realized that I had indeed read it as a child; I remember the illustrations, especially Kindle the fire-spirit and Bumble, who even at 5 I thought was dumb. It wasn't a favorite then, and I'm afraid I'm not impressed now, either. It is okay, but I have come across many better retellings of the basic story. The characters didn't have that much personality. Also, modern tales where the True Love is based on one glance at the Amazingly Beautiful (and rich) Princess leave me col ...more
Nov 28, 2007 Meredith rated it it was amazing
If you do not like this book, we will never be friends.
Dave Russell
MY mother read this book to me when I was a little goodreader, but I'd forgotten the title. Someone here reminded me of the title (thanks Jackie.) I don't remember very many details of the book, so I'm rating it based on the good memories from when I was four.
Dec 29, 2014 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
As a child I loved this book, it was one of my favorites. I kept this (along with many other favorites) to share with my children, who loved it as much as I did and now the book is now safely tucked away to be shared with future grandchildren. I love the illustrations and the story is fun and easy for children to follow.

I read an earlier review which noted that the king's friends did all of the real work while the king only directed them, however it must be remembered that he "saved" each of th
Chris Censullo
Nov 02, 2015 Chris Censullo rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books when I was very young. The illustrations and interesting characters really captured my imagination. Part of the story feels very old fashioned now, with the idea of the King acquiring a kingdom, simply by marrying a beautiful princess. It still resonates with themes of friendship and diversity.
Dec 31, 2008 whalesister rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
One of my all-time favorite picture-book authors, both now and when I read his books as a child.

His language is fabulous, his characters vivid, and his fairy tales, though you know you've run across elements of them in Grimm, always have a distinctly original feel. It's all about the little details. Williams has a true gift for fresh metaphor, and always seems to choose the one perfect descriptive word or phrase. I love the clever, unexpected twists, the subtle humor.
I'm astonished to find most
Shawn Thrasher
Aug 17, 2012 Shawn Thrasher rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I can remember reading to myself, all by myself. Re-reading it today as a adult, it's still a fantastic story, fairy tale/folklore with really subtle fantasy elements (like the names of the characters). As a ginger, Kindle the red-headed character who can turn himself into fire and has freckles that sparkle (like embers, I supposed) was and still is my favorite. The watercolor illustrations are perfectly soft, deep, muted. The world in which King Zar and his six friends in ...more
Cathy Day
May 26, 2014 Cathy Day rated it it was amazing
This was my favorite book as a child. I've tried Googling the author's name to see what became of him. If you're reading this Jay Williams, thank you for writing a story that made me want to write stories of my own.
Spike Brooks
Jul 26, 2013 Spike Brooks rated it it was amazing
I loved this book as a kid, and somehow lost it along the way. I have seen so much in life that this book taught me, and with so few words in it! I was a kid with wide open eyes at every magical change or twist in the plot. I was so amazed with this book that sometime after reaching adulthood, I remembered it, and absolutely needed to put it on my bookshelf. I found it online with much searching as it is apparently a little more rare than I had thought. I finally received it, and although I have ...more
Jen Bidwell
Oct 02, 2014 Jen Bidwell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
still my most treasured book, the only book of mine that i didn't write in as a kid! the illustrations are fabulous.
James Rosh
Oct 14, 2014 James Rosh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-as-a-kid
A fave book from when I was a little kid that was at my Grand Parents. I liked the guy who turned into an Ax and the Guy who turned into the swarm of bees
Jan 22, 2013 Hork rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this as a kid, and it stuck with me as a great book with excellent illustrations. Probably also explains my fascination with super-heroes now.

I recently re-aquired a copy, and keep it as a treasure.

A king who is "out of work" (like me right now!) sets off in search of a kingdom. Along the way he finds friends, each with their own special ability. They help him try to win the hand of a princess and the trust of a king who gives him several nearly impossible tasks.

Well written
Dec 20, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
This book was read to me by my parents many long years ago. And it instantly became a favorite of mine. I was very little, and remember nearly all of this book perfectly. It's been nearly a decade since I remember last hearing this book, or even reading it, but it made such a lasting impression...
An excellent read, and a good way to remind children that friends can be found int he strangest places, and help in the most unexpected ways.
Oct 03, 2009 Hilary rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
With rave reviews from so many others ... I was expecting ... more? ... from this book. I like the idea of a King who is looking for work. The ending satisfies. But the pictures were not that memorable and I think I just found this story too late. Perhaps, had I read it as a child, it would have more impact?
Feb 18, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing
I still own the copy of this that I read as a child. Even though it's a picture book, I still consider it one of my favorite fantasy stories. My tastes have matured over the years, but this still holds a special place in my heart.
Jul 10, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing
What an awesome gem of a book! Classic fairytale format; self-aware but not ironic; interesting pictures; and a real lesson at the end. It didn't drag at all. Highly recommended to anyone, especially Dr. Llizo.
Aug 25, 2008 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
This is so fun to read. You have to have great picture books to read so that you don't get bored of reading them over and over. I never tire of reading this.
Aug 02, 2012 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
This is one of my most favorite books from my childhood. It is an oldie but a goodie. A classic. Love love love this book.
Simone Roughouser
Oct 16, 2008 Simone Roughouser rated it it was amazing
amazing kids book, story and illustrations to inspire. someone turns into a swarm of bees....check it out.
Aug 13, 2012 Sissy rated it it was amazing
another fave when I was a little kid. This book was at grandmother's. Loved it!!!
May 12, 2008 Catherine marked it as to-read
i better get on reading this.... i want to keep Mer as my friend :)
Feb 17, 2010 Molly rated it really liked it
This was my favorite picture book for many years.
Jemmi Huidekoper
Jemmi Huidekoper marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
Margaret marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
Anna Ivanovna
Anna Ivanovna marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2016
Boys marked it as to-read
Jun 05, 2016
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Jay Williams (May 31, 1914–July 12, 1978) was an American author born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Max and Lillian Jacobson. He cited the experience of growing up as the son of a vaudeville show producer as leading him to pursue his acting career as early as college. Between 1931 and 1934 he attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University where he took part in amateur theatrica ...more
More about Jay Williams...

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