book cover The King of Large
by June Colbert

Novel | 175 pp | Years 58

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[ Overview | Author profile | Useful websites | Focus questions ]


The King of Large is the personal diary of Robbie, a seriously overweight 11 year old. Robbie's problems with his weight become critical when his health deteriorates to the point where he has blackouts and is excluded from the school soccer team. Soccer is the only sport he enjoys and, with his self-esteem steadily diminishing and the ongoing bullying and name calling from his classmates increasing, Robbie is at an all time low. On top of all of this, Robbie is experiencing troubles with his younger brother and his best friend is having family problems.

June Colbert explores a number of issues that affect a person's health and wellbeing in this sensitive and very funny story. The diary format gives the reader insights into Robbie's personal life that are easy to relate to. We share his thoughts and feelings as well as the family support networks that help him begin to deal with his problems.

Upper primary students will relate strongly to Robbie's story as it unfolds at the beginning of his grade 6 year. However, Robbie's quirky self-analysis and his quick retorts will appeal to teenage readers who will also connect to the issues in Robbie's life.

Author profile

June Colbert was born in the United Kingdom and immigrated to Australia when she was six years old. She lives in Prospect in New South Wales. She has taught English, French and Music in secondary schools and then worked in the commercial sector. June has since worked as a purchasing supervisor, as a foster carer and a nanny. She has been published in a school magazine and The King of Large is her first published children's novel.

Useful websites

Focus questions

Before reading the book

  • What do you think this book will be about? Explain your reasons considering both the title and the cover illustration.
  • What does the blurb tell you about Robbie Chambers' problems?
  • What are some of the positive things in Robbie's life? From the clues in the blurb, predict how these may help him.
  • What parts of the blurb indicate that this book may be humorous?

During and after reading the book

  • What were the warning signs for Robbie that his weight was becoming a serious problem?
  • In what ways did Robbie's family support him in dealing with his issues?
  • How did Robbie's and Humungo's attitudes to their weight problems differ?
  • How can you explain the change in Humungo's attitude to losing weight during the story?
  • Why do you think the author has shown most of the characters with a problem to deal with? Do you think this realistic? Justify your answer.
  • In what ways does the author use descriptive language to engage the reader? Note examples as your read the book.

© Curriculum Corporation 2006