A newly minted knight goes from zero to hero—at least in his own mind.

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THE LONG-LOST SECRET DIARY OF THE WORLD'S WORST KNIGHT

From the Long-Lost Secret Diary series

Young squire Roderick is ready for knightly fame—as soon as he finds a sword he can lift, that is, and can rid himself of a tendency to wail when his horse moves.

Having had more practice in cleaning up pigeon poo and talking to peasants than fencing and jousting, Roderick might seem ill-prepared to join the knights of Doddingford Castle in a quest to recover the stolen fingers of St. Stephen. But it’s those very experiences that get him into rival Froddington Castle and away with the holy digits when his armored compatriots are stymied. Filtered through Roderick’s ever optimistic eyes—and supplemented both by backmatter and by frequent historical side comments labeled “Get Real”—the story affords readers glimpses of martial training, chivalric values, peasant revolts, castle life, King Arthur, medieval torture, the Black Death, and various related topics…not to mention siege warfare when the knights of Froddington follow to recover the revered relics. Once the discovery is made that there are actually 14 holy fingers and three thumbs, news of more missing relics sends Sir Roderick on to further chances for knightly glory. Though the cast here is all white in Horne’s occasional ink-and-wash drawings and composed of conventional comedic types, a Brit-centric closing gallery loosely dubbed “Knight Hall of Fame” does include Wat Tyler, along with Saladin, Joan of Arc, and Gutenberg. Companion title The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Pirate publishes simultaneously and in the same vein.

A newly minted knight goes from zero to hero—at least in his own mind. (afterword, glossary, timeline) (Historical farce. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63163-137-5

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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

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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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