Knights vs Dinosaurs, by Matt Phelan, for Timeslip Tuesday

Knights vs Dinosaurs, written and illustrated by Matt Phelan (Greenwillow, Oct 2018) is a great one to give to kids who love Ursula Vernon's Hamster Princess books, but want a bit of a change!  It's a fun story, and it's a graphic heavy one, with generous line spacing and not too many pages (148), making it friendly for Elementary School readers into the Middle Grade ages (so basically, 7-10 year olds).

Here's the story--

King Arthur's knights roam around the countryside, looking for bad guys/dragons to fight, but mostly they come up empty handed.  Still, they have to boast about something when they gather around the Round Table, and one night Sir Erec boasts that he slew 40 dragons. Merlin decides it's time to teach the knights a little lesson about boasting....and challenges Sir Erec, and three other knights, to a very different sort of quest, one that involves battling giant reptiles...

The knights follow Merlin's instructions to a cave....and once inside, the four of them, plus one squire, Mel, are sent back in time to the age of the dinosaurs!  At last there real monsters to fight, and the knights agree that they must be vanquished to complete the quest before they can return to their own time.  The dragons chomp and chase and swing their spiked tails, the knights thwack and run away and swing maces and throw rocks and run away a bit more.

But after a bit of practice facing off against the dinosaurs, the knights start working together more effectively, and make it home again!

The coolest of all the knights, both brave and level-headed, is the Black Knight, who turns out to be a woman.  Mel the squire is a girl in disguise.  Gender equity in dino fighting!  Harriet the Hamster Princess I mentioned above would be right at home amongst all the wild rampaging.

It is not a great time travel book qua time travel book, because, as Matt Phelan admits in his instructional guide to prehistoric fauna at the end, he included species that weren't contemporaneous.  So it basically a generic "dinosaur past."   But still it is lots of fun, and Phelan's illustrations are delightful.  If ever Merlin planned a second adventure for these knights, I'd welcome it.

1 comment:

  1. How can you go wrong with Knights and Dinosaurs? Kids will love this. Thanks for the review.


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