King Arthur's Very Great Grandson
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King Arthur's Very Great Grandson

by Kenneth Kraegel
     
 

Newcomer Kenneth Kraegel wryly draws from myth and legend to craft a daring and inventive tale to delight adventurers of all ages.

Henry Alfred Grummorson is the great-great-great-great-great-greatgreat grandson of Arthur, King of Britain. On his sixth birthday, adorned with a helmet and sword, Henry goes in search of adventure. He challenges a

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Overview

Newcomer Kenneth Kraegel wryly draws from myth and legend to craft a daring and inventive tale to delight adventurers of all ages.

Henry Alfred Grummorson is the great-great-great-great-great-greatgreat grandson of Arthur, King of Britain. On his sixth birthday, adorned with a helmet and sword, Henry goes in search of adventure. He challenges a fire-breathing dragon to a fight, but the dragon prefers a game of blowing smoke rings. A cyclops wants only to have a staring contest. Even the griffin will not engage in "a battle to the uttermost" of the type Henry desires. Desperate for a real battle, strength against strength, might against might, Henry seeks out the fearsome leviathan. Has he met his match at last — or might he find something he didn’t know he was looking for? Children bold and imaginative will relate to Henry’s quest — and smile at its unintended consequences.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With King Arthur’s DNA swirling in his wiry little body, it’s only natural that six-year-old Henry Alfred Grummorson would want to go on a monster-battling quest. The thing is, every monster he encounters—be it a terrible dragon, a dreaded cyclops, or the “most to be feared” leviathan—seems to have the DNA of Ferdinand the Bull. Ordered to “unsheathe your claws and let us have ado!” an elaborately feathered griffin instead offers a game of chess. “I prefer black. Is that ok?” it asks eagerly. Although the wrap-up is too pat, considering what precedes it, debut author Kraegel proves he’s a talent to be reckoned with. He has a Monty Pythonesque sense of language, humor, pacing, and character—the text’s mixture of bombastic and deadpan deliveries makes for a stirring read-aloud. This fine sense of the epically absurd also animates Kraegel’s rococo watercolor and ink renderings: in his hands, a dragon’s scales coalesce into an intricate mosaic, a tree is a swirl of mazelike lines, and the sea becomes a tangled mass of blue ribbons. Ages 5–8. Agent: Ronnie Herman, the Herman Agency. (July)
From the Publisher
Debut author Kraegel proves he’s a talent to be reckoned with. He has a Monty Pythonesque sense of language, humor, pacing, and character—the text’s mixture of bombastic and deadpan deliveries makes for a stirring read-aloud. This fine sense of the epically absurd also animates Kraegel’s rococo watercolor and ink renderings: in his hands, a dragon’s scales coalesce into an intricate mosaic, a tree is a swirl of mazelike lines, and the sea becomes a tangled mass of blue ribbons.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

From a gifted new author-illustrator comes an original story about a very old hand: namely, Henry Alfred Grummorson, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of King Arthur. On the day of his sixth birthday, Henry sets out for peril and conquest... Alas, all he finds are peaceable beasts. A Cyclops who prefers staring contests, a dragon who blows smoke rings, a griffin who plays chess — everyone’s actually pretty friendly. It’s still exciting.
—The New York Times

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When Henry Grummorson, the eight-times great grandson of King Arthur, turns six, he sets out on his donkey, Knuckles, to find adventure. First, he seeks a fire-breathing dragon, announcing his challenge in large, uppercase type. The dragon simply blows smoke rings, and sends him to the Cyclops for "rough adventure." Again, Henry strongly announces himself. But the Cyclops only fights in staring contests with his single eye. For physical peril, he suggests that Henry try the Griffin. The loud challenge to the Griffin only results in his bringing out a chessboard. For danger, he sends Henry to the horrid Leviathan by the sea. Across the double page the monster growls, but his "GR..." is only part of his "Greeting." Henry must be satisfied with the other kinds of challenges offered, as he has found new friends. A small, stylized Henry weaves across the end pages, sword in hand, as a light-hearted introduction to this humorous fantasy. Watercolors and ink create double page scenes of fairytale land and seascapes and rather comic characters. The jacket pictures our tiny hero confronting the huge, but smiling dragon, assuring that despite Henry's determination, no real battles are inside. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Henry Alfred Grummorson traces his lineage back to King Arthur himself, so it seems perfectly natural to him that, on his sixth birthday, he mounts his trusty donkey, Knuckles, and goes out looking for a perilous beast to slay. Nothing goes according to plan, though: the Dragon merely blows smoke rings, the only battle the Cyclops is interested in is a staring contest, and the Griffin wants to play checkers, for heaven's sake. Though he doesn't find the epic battles he imagined, Henry finds that friendship is something worth questing for. The text skips along like Henry's donkey, bringing this irrepressible young boy to life. Kraegel's winsome illustrations, full of expressive details and a timeless palette, recall the work of John Burningham.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
On his sixth birthday, Henry Alfred Grummorson, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Arthur, King of Britain, goes in search of adventure. First, he challenges a fire-breathing Dragon that simply blows smoke rings. He announces his presence to the giant Cyclops who, instead of fighting, engages him in a staring contest. "NO! NO!" cries Henry. "I want a struggle of arms, a test of might and courage!" Travelling far in search of a worthy adversary, his search leads him past the winged Griffin (who offers a game of chess) to the sea monster Leviathan. Has he finally found something worthy of a fight? With all the courage and flourish of Arthurian legend, Henry's formal voice bellows each call to duel, all in capital letters and in a distinguished font from ye olden days. Kraegel teases this tiny knight with monsters that prefer play over fray. Despite the determined lack of conflict, Henry still manages to find a treasure he didn't know he was seeking. The illustrations succeed in matching the rugged scenery with the adventurous text while giving clues to the surprising ending. This is a good choice for reading aloud and for discussing such topics as friendship, aggression and the bravery it takes to change your mind. (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763653118
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
07/24/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
495,407
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kenneth Kraegel is a self-taught illustrator and writer. He is the recipient of a Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Tomie dePaola Honor Award and was a finalist in the third annual CJ Picture Book Award in Seoul, South Korea. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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