King of the Swamp

McDarkly lives a quiet life, growing flowers in the swamp, until his peace is shattered by a roller-skating king who wants to concrete over his home! Can McDarkly save the swamp in time? Or will he lose his home forever? 

Waterstones says: Brilliantly bonkers and chucklesome, Emmett & Mantle’s hugely enjoyable picture book finds a determined creature set out to save his swamp from an avaricious developer. Smuggling a thoughtful story of conservation and climate change into an anarchic knockabout, King of the Swamp will delight & educate all young readers.

Illustrated by Ben Mantle. Published by Simon & Schuster.

Available to buy here.

King of the Swamp has been a Waterstones Bestseller and an Amazon #1 Bestseller. It was part of The Reading Agency’s 2021 Summer Reading Challenge.


  • the St Helen’s SLS Book Award – WINNER
  • the Lancashire SLS Brilliant Book Award – Shortlisted
  • the Portsmouth SLS Picture Book Award – Shortlisted
  • the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award – Shortlisted

There is a fantastic reading of King of the Swamp over on You Tube by the supremely talented ‘Storytime With Hannah and Patrick‘:

If you’d like to draw your very own McDarkly then check out the Draw-A-Long below! Drawn by me and inspired by Ben Mantle’s fab illustrations.

Draw your very own McDarkly from King of the Swamp!

If you are looking for a fun ‘King of the Swamp’ craft, then check out how to ‘Make your own McDarkly’ – a brilliant craft for little hands, which was kindly provided by the incredibly crafty Fiona Barker.