The King of Things

El rey de las cosas

By: Artemio Rodríguez
Illustrator: Artemio Rodriguez
In this bilingual (Spanish/English) very early reader, Little Lalo receives inspiration from the famous Mexican lotería game.


Colorful woodcuts, inspired by Mexican Loteria cards, show Lalo dancing through imagined kingdom of animals, mermaids, sun and moon.

I am three years old
I am so strong
I am so smart
Look at what I own!

In this bilingual (Spanish/English) very early reader, Little Lalo receives inspiration from the famous Mexican lotería game. Since Lalo is the King of Things and three years old besides, he plays the cards and counts as his possessions the sun, the moon, a lion, a fish, a clown, a train, the crown on his head. Each card in Lalo's kingdom has its own page, illustrated with a playful brightly colored woodcut.

La Luna spread

Awards and Accomodations

Texas Institute of Letters Best Design of a Trade Book Award, Finalist

5 reviews for The King of Things

  1. Midwest Book Review
    Written and illustrated by renowned printmaker Artemio Rodriguez, The King of Things is an easy reader English/Spanish picture book that introduces the very young to the famous Mexican game, Loteria. Loteria is a game of chance like bingo, using pictures instead of numbers and letters; each two-page spread of The King of Things shows a picture of something, its name in English, and its name in Spanish, such as “A heron / una garza” and “A little devil / Un diablito”. A wonderful and fun-filled introduction to the connections between two languages and cultures especially for the very young.

  2. Críticas
    Lotería is a game with pictures on cards, similar to bingo, played by entire families at Mexican carnivals and festivals. In this fanciful book, three-year-old Lalo looks at the lotería cards and declares himself to be the king of all he surveys. After introducing himself and noting how strong and smart he is, he lists all his possessions. These are, in fact, the images from the lotería cards with his figure worked into each one. The sun, the moon, a clown, a frog, a lion—all these are his. After all, he is Lalo, he has the crown, and this is how he plays.

    The art, which resembles linoleum block prints, is arresting. Iconic, with black lines and deep colors, the resemblance to lotería cards is unmistakable. Young children, even those who have never encountered the game, will be fascinated by the pictures, and even adults may be taken in by the quality of the artwork, which is indeed impressive. An interesting purchase for bookstores, this is an excellent lap book. —Ann Welton, Grant Center for the Expressive Arts

  3. Tucson Citizen
    Three-year-old little Lalo is the King of Things. He plays with cards, counting his possessions: the sun, the moon, a lion, a fish, a clown, a train and the crown on his head. Each card in Lalo’s kingdom has its own page, illustrated with a brightly colored woodcut. This bilingual reader will appeal to children who are just learning to read.

  4. El Paso Scene
    This is a nice way to introduce a second language and a snippet of the Mexican culture. It consists mainly of broadline wood-cut style drawings of a young man’s daydreams, through the world of Lotería cards, by Los Angeles-based artist Artemio Rodriguez, best known for his images in Dagoberto Gilb’s acclaimed “Woodcuts of Women.” Accompanied with English and Spanish titles, the book comes across as very nicely packaged flash cards. Still, its edgy whimsy would make it a nice addition in a gift basket for out-of-town friends and family, as it is as much a taste of our border region as salsa.

  5. El Paso Inside & Out
    This print-sized book, beautifully illustrated with vivid images and colors, is a perfect introduction to English or Spanish, depending on your child’s first language. The story is told by Lalo, a 3-year-old boy with quite a collection of “things.” He’s full of himself, declaring fuerte and listo he is on the very first page of the book and claiming ownership of such things as the moon and the sun, animals and a train, but he has sweet eyes and only wants to play with and appreciate the glorious things around him each and every day. Each page gives a new vocabulary word, translating everyday objects and animals from English to Spanish. It’s a breeze to read and a beautiful first step in raising a bilingual child in this bilingual Border town.

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