Rulers of the Playground

A boy who would be king, a girl who would be queen & the politics that rule the playground

Rulers of the Playground is a cautionary and satirical tale about power. The art, with its airy and minimal forms, provides a foil for the story’s more serious subtext and ensures the nuanced emotional experiences of the children remain at the fore. The book was published in 2017 to critical praise. It was featured in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, and has since been published in numerous languages around the world.

 Published by Balzer+Bray in 2017 


“Children struggling with tyrants (or the impulse to dictate) will find both laughter and comfort in Kuefler's playground, full of recognizable experiences, faces, and feelings. Winning satire for the jungle-gym set.“

 Kirkus Reviews / Starred Review 

“A smart, funny examination of power and control...A sly reminder that being in charge isn’t always as fun as it looks.”

 Publishers Weekly

“This readable title is sure to speak to bossy and not so bossy kids alike. A great choice for the beginning of the school year.”

 School Library Journal 

 Why this story? 

For many of us around the globe, 2015 and early 2016 were defined by the social and political tensions they presented. When I sat down to begin my next book, I couldn’t help but process it all in the form of a picture book.

I never intended for Rulers to become such an on-the-nose criticism of current events and the state of global leadership, but, sadly, it’s become that.

 Lennox’s kingdom had swings, so they crossed their hearts and promised.