A sweet tale about the power of story, just right for nascent fans of Redwall.


In an homage to reading that also recalls The Story of Ferdinand, the power of words is extolled in rhyme.

“Leo was a gentle knight / in thought and word and deed. / While other knights liked fighting, / Leo liked to sit and read.” So when an ad for a dragon tamer appears in a magazine, the young mouse knight’s parents insist he take up the charge. Reluctantly, he sets off and encounters in succession a griffin, a troll, and a dragon. In each case, he saves his hide and avoids fighting by reading the creature a story featuring it. The coup de grâce? He lets each monster keep the book he reads to it. When he reaches home, his parents hug him and declare him a hero. Now Leo “doesn’t have to fight at all. / He’s left in peace—to read.” The sprightly, brightly colored illustrations fill the scenes with medieval details and exaggerate the action. In addition to the anthropomorphic mice, such common English woodland creatures as hedgehogs, badgers, and rabbits populate the quaint, half-timbered village and castle, and by the end of each encounter the not-very-scary monsters are all smiling genially. The rhymes easily move the story forward.

A sweet tale about the power of story, just right for nascent fans of Redwall. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3814-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A tiny knight’s tale that’s hard not to like.


When the dreaded Underwear Dragon attacks the kingdom, only young Cole can rise to the fire-breathing challenge.

Hoping to join his favorite knight, Sir Percival, as his assistant, Cole writes a heartfelt letter to the famed warrior. Cole’s letter moves Sir Percival to tears (“That’s right. Knights cry”), and Cole gets his wish. Soon enough, the assistant knight is learning to ride horses, swing swords, and calm Sir Percival’s fears of the Underwear Dragon. It’s a rough training for Cole, full of knocks from horses, princesses, and other knights. Nevertheless, Cole finds his knighthood education worthwhile, and he quickly becomes Sir Percival’s greatest supporter. Then the Underwear Dragon arrives and lays waste to the kingdom. One by one, the knights fall to the dragon’s wrath until Cole’s the last brave hero standing in its way. Full of amusing asides, dry wit, and droll pacing, Rothman’s tale of a knight-in-training piles on the laughs even if the humor seems hit-and-miss at times. (Giggles induced by the dragon’s underwear will abate after a few pages.) Still, the author sneaks in a refreshing deconstruction of knighthood that peels back the impenetrable facade for something that’s altogether comical and, thus, empathetic. Oswald’s frenetic artwork—appropriately grand and splashy—provides lots of gags, particularly via exaggerated facial expressions. Cole and Sir Percival present White; the kingdom is a diverse one. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 87.3% of actual size.)

A tiny knight’s tale that’s hard not to like. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11989-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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


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

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