Shame on you, Gerald Morris, for treating the Matter of Britain with insufficient solemnity.

READ REVIEW

THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN THE ILL-FATED

From the Knights' Tales series , Vol. 4

Prophecies. A young knight learns that they’re just not to be trusted in this fourth of the light-hearted Arthurian Knights’ Tales.

A seeress’ ominous prediction that he would grow up to be known as the noblest knight in England but bring misfortune to all his companions and deliver the Dubious…er, Dolorous Stroke weighs heavily on Sir Balin of the Two Swords—but, in the end, proves less accurate than his own mother’s prediction that he’d grow up to marry a nice northern girl. This last happens after much knightly questing, a certain amount of slaughter, plenty of side banter and fateful meetings with both Balin’s skeptical brother Sir “Oh, put a cork in it!” Balan and levelheaded Lady Annalise, the Questing Lady. Said banter shows off to excellent advantage Morris’ability to put a 21st-century spin on the ancient legends: “ ‘I bring this enchanted sword, seeking the one knight who is able to draw it from its sheath!’ ‘Stuck, is it?’ asked Sir Kay. ‘I used to have a sword that would do that,’ said another knight. ‘Have you tried jiggling the hilt?’ ” Renier liberally salts the short chapters with scenes of armored knights looking startled or vigorously clobbering one another.

Shame on you, Gerald Morris, for treating the Matter of Britain with insufficient solemnity. (Snicker.) (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-68085-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits.

KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS

Who needs dragons when there are Terrible Lizards to be fought?

Having recklessly boasted to King Arthur and the court that he’d slain 40 dragons, Sir Erec can hardly refuse when Merlin offers him more challenging foes…and so it is that in no time (so to speak), Erec, with bookish Sir Hector, the silent and enigmatic Black Knight, and blustering Sir Bors with his thin but doughty squire, Mel, in tow, are hewing away at fearsome creatures sporting natural armor and weapons every bit as effective as knightly ones. Happily, while all the glorious mashing and bashing leads to awesome feats aplenty—who would suspect that a ravening T. Rex could be decked by a well-placed punch to the jaw?—when the dust settles neither bloodshed nor permanent injury has been dealt to either side. Better yet, not even the stunning revelation that two of the Three Stooges–style bumblers aren’t what they seem (“Anyone else here a girl?”) keeps the questers from developing into a well-knit team capable of repeatedly saving one another’s bacon. Phelan endows the all-white human cast with finely drawn, eloquently expressive faces but otherwise works in a loose, movement-filled style, pitting his clanking crew against an almost nonstop onslaught of toothy monsters in a monochrome mix of single scenes and occasional wordless sequential panels.

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268623-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more