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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Petro and The Flea King is an adventure story for children written and illustrated by Kenneth Kit Lamug. Petro’s story has its origins in a Philippine folktale called Juan Tamad at ang Pulgas. In it, Juan breaks a cooking pot and goes off to buy another one. The town he goes to is infested with fleas, however, leading to all sorts of problems. Petro’s story goes a bit further as he encounters different friends and foes on his quest to find the solution to the problems posed by a very aggressive and unfriendly Flea King. Lamug’s story is told entirely without words -- the illustrations tell the story and help the reader fill in the details. While the chapter headings are in English, there are some instances where the reader will encounter words in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. Lamug includes a glossary of those words at the back of the book.
Kenneth Kit Lamug’s adventure novel for children, Petro and The Flea King, is a fun-filled and exciting fable that will have kids creating their own dialogue as they read about Petro’s experiences. Lamug gives young readers a feel for village life in the Philippines, but he also incorporates fables kids will already be familiar with. I had a grand time reading this story. I loved the eloquent and expressive illustrations, and especially appreciated the genesis of the rascally Flea King and the almost post-apocalyptic flavor his rise to power gives to the work. This creative and imaginative graphic novel works on so many levels, and while it can’t really be read aloud, I’d venture to say that just about any kid would have a lot of fun narrating what is happening on each page. Petro and The Flea King is most highly recommended.