A joyful, silly tale for the adventurer, boy or girl, young or old: medieval mayhem at its best.

THE SWORD IN THE STOVE

Two chefs solve one big mystery (albeit too late!) in this humorous spoof on the knight-and-dragon tale.

It’s mealtime, but where is Harold? Two cooks wonder about their knightly friend—but readers are in the know. He was last seen racing across the title page, searching for the loo. So onward the pair go until: “Holy haddock!” There’s a sword in the stove. Who could’ve put it there? Pirates? The absurdity builds (and so do the laughs) as the oven yields additional items. The pumpkin-headed chefs, like a classic comedy duo, play off each other, channeling Laurel and Hardy in both physique and demeanor; the author juxtaposes their differences to maximum effect. When the two agree the sword is Harold’s and his fate a dire one, a fiery whoosh interrupts the question of who would do such a thing. A hungry (and adorable-looking) dragon ready for dessert, that’s who! Young readers need not fear, as the last page reveals the chefs and Harold still alive, with a giggle-inducing punch line. Dormer’s illustrations fuel the text with their spontaneity and engaging compositions. His primitive watercolor shapes, expressive pencil marks, and clever use of a limited, warm palette reveal a sophisticated control of the medium. Through both text and art, he offers something for everyone (pirates! Vikings! inventive expletives! silliness!). Brilliantly designed down to a typeface that alludes to the story’s legendary associations, this book establishes itself as thoroughly modern.

A joyful, silly tale for the adventurer, boy or girl, young or old: medieval mayhem at its best. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3167-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Boy and dragon close their day with a bedtime read ("Knight Boy," which looks like a graphic novel featuring a...

ME AND MY DRAGON

From the Me and My Dragon series

Young dragon lovers not quite ready for the film How to Train Your Dragon will appreciate this gentle, imaginative account of what having a dragon as a pet might be like.

Charming digital art features a bright-red, not-too-scary dragon, who starts out small at "Eddie's Exotic Pets." Exotic he may be, but with understated humor he's shown doing all kinds of regular-pet stuff: going to the vet for a checkup, sticking his head out the car window on the way home (except this pet's head sticks out of the sunroof), chewing on a shoe, going for a walk on a leash (except he flies, rather than walks) and more. The goofy expression on Sparky's face is just like that of an eager, friendly puppy, complete with tongue hanging out, and is especially funny when he's scaring folks unintentionally (sticking his head in the schoolroom window for show-and-tell, for example). The wry tone of the text complements the illustrations' comedy, especially in issuing some cautionary advice: "(But don't give them broccoli. It gives them gas. And you don't want a fire-breathing dragon with gas.)"

Boy and dragon close their day with a bedtime read ("Knight Boy," which looks like a graphic novel featuring a familiar-looking red dragon); this amiable story can help real-life families do the same. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58089-278-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For those on a quest for a different take on a holiday tail—oops!—tale.

THE EIGHT KNIGHTS OF HANUKKAH

A mix of medieval derring-do and Hanukkah preparation and celebration.

A map of a castle and its environs opens the tale. The eight knights, diverse in gender and race, are siblings, the children of Lady Sadie. She sends them forth on great steeds to foil the “dastardly dragon named Dreadful,” which is wreaking havoc with the realm’s Hanukkah celebrations. Their weapons are “awesome kindness and stupendous bravery.” Sir Alex carves a replacement for a charred dreidel. Sir Gabriel helps prepare latkes. Sir Margaret assists with making applesauce. Others perform the “mitzvah of bringing chicken soup to the hungry,” fry doughnuts, and clean the castle. The last two—Sir Isabella and Sir Rugelach—prepare to do battle with the dragon until they discover that it is just a “baby dragon” named Rosie. And so their Round Table is filled with tasty treats and a menorah while guests and brave deed-doers fill the seats. And readers will not be surprised to see who lights the candles. The narrative is laced with medievalesque wordage as in “Hark! Methinks” and “Worryeth not.” Colorful cartoon illustrations portray happy encounters between the knights and the ordinary folk, interspersed with hints to the dragon’s whereabouts.

For those on a quest for a different take on a holiday tail—oops!—tale. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3958-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more