Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
During the Middle Ages, many young boys dreamt of becoming knights; the thrill of knights in shining armor has not left us, even today. This book paints a picture of the feudal system and the chivalric code in simple, straightforward terms. Young boys on the path to knighthood started as young as seven years old, working as pages in their master's home. By fourteen, pages became squires who cared for the knight's armor. After another seven years, squires became knights in a "dubbing" ceremony in which they pledged their loyalty to the king and promised to be brave, polite and honest, both in battle and in daily life. Details about a knight's armor and jousting tournaments will satisfy readers seeking action-packed scenes, while fun facts about the perils of wearing fifty pounds of armor bring humor to a serious subject. Although little context is given for why knights were necessary during the Middle Ages and not much is said about the actual drudgery of medieval life in this volume, additional books in the "First Facts" series should provide a clearer picture of the time. On its own, this book works well in providing factual tidbits for youngsters interested in doing more than pretending to sword fight. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal
With three to six sentences per page, large, clear fonts, and succinct descriptions, these books are ideal introductions. Each one includes a simple craft and an "Amazing but True!" section that provides extra child appeal, e.g., "Sometimes doctors would taste a patient's pee to find out what was wrong!" There are no source notes, but professional consultants lend credibility. Excellent reproductions of period paintings complement the texts.