More a few quick stabs at the topic than a solid bashing—but lively despite its relatively light load of bells and whistles

READ REVIEW

KNIGHTOLOGY

A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE MOST VALIANT KNIGHTS

A charge through the glory days of knighthood, led by a latter-day Master of the Secret Order of the Round Table.

Presented as an updated facsimile of an Elizabethan-era volume that was embedded in a stone until pulled free by one of the publisher’s children, this lap-sized manual offers scattershot commentary on an array of knightly topics illustrated with modern painted views of heavily armored figures, weaponry, and castles. Would-be young squires will get basic lowdowns on knights of both yore—particularly William Marshall, a warrior of the 12th and 13th centuries who served five English kings—and lore, knightly training, chivalric behavior, jousting, and select early Crusades. Along with an introductory missive in an envelope, special features include a few sliding panels, overlapping flaps that allow readers to (partially) undress a knight, and mounted booklets containing abbreviated accounts of famous medieval battles, a version of “Gawain and the Green Knight,” and like fare. For budding knights-errant coded clues throughout purportedly lead to the Holy Grail, which is depicted at the end as an elaborately decorated chalice with an inset “jewel.” All of the figures are white, European men aside from the odd horse, damsel (also white), or olive-skinned Saracen.

More a few quick stabs at the topic than a solid bashing—but lively despite its relatively light load of bells and whistles . (Fictionalized informational novelty. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9848-5

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Not a stand-alone, unlike the opener, but still a worthy tale built around a core of clashing cultures and shared human...

THE RAIDERS

From the Inuk Quartet series , Vol. 2

The second episode in the Danish author's Inuk Quartet sends young Icelander Leiv and his Inuit friends on a new mission of vengeance after Viking raiders plunder his newfound Greenland home.

They have spent an idyllic spring and summer recovering from the trek in Shipwreck (2011); it's been interrupted only by a quick clash with a longship captained by the brutal Thorleifsson brothers. Now, Apuluk and Narua set out to rejoin their nomadic clan with Leiv in tow. That friendly visit turns into a punitive expedition after the Thorleifssons massacre most of a native settlement and loot Leiv's new home. The translated narrative reads smoothly, and high production values result in a handsome, open page design. Its visual appeal is enhanced by Cann's stylized but crisply drawn and richly colored images of arctic wildlife and fur-clad human residents. Though wordy descriptions of seasonal cycles and farm life slow down the first several chapters, the pacing picks up on the way to a violent climax, gory ends for the bad guys, and (pointing to developments in volumes to come) Leiv's decision to explore northward in search of a land route to fabled Vinland.

Not a stand-alone, unlike the opener, but still a worthy tale built around a core of clashing cultures and shared human values.   (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84686-744-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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