What If You Met a Knight?

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Forget jousts and quests and dragons—a real knight had real work to do, lots of mouths to feed, and trouble could ride over the hill at any moment. Castles were dark, armor was uncomfortable, and jousts and tournaments (not to mention real battles) were dangerous—and expensive. As in the popular and successful What If You Met a Pirate? an informative, entertaining text and energetic illustrations, diagrams, and cross sections combine to explore a subject with loads of kid ...

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Overview

Forget jousts and quests and dragons—a real knight had real work to do, lots of mouths to feed, and trouble could ride over the hill at any moment. Castles were dark, armor was uncomfortable, and jousts and tournaments (not to mention real battles) were dangerous—and expensive. As in the popular and successful What If You Met a Pirate? an informative, entertaining text and energetic illustrations, diagrams, and cross sections combine to explore a subject with loads of kid appeal.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
A quick introduction summarizes the popular beliefs about knights and their supposed glamorous, adventurous lives. Then the truth comes out! Most knights were neither noble nor adventurous. Sir Guy of Wareham provides a prototype of the "real knight." Sir Guy was actually a distressed middleman caught between warlords and peasants. He owed homage, gold, and food to the ruling warlord. He managed a vast farm, making decisions about planting and harvesting while supervising and protecting the many families working on his land. He was a rancher, a business manager, a merchant, a judge, a banker, a sportsman, an investor, and a planner. He didn't have much time for fair ladies and no time for slaying dragons. Mixed in with Sir Guy's adversities are other debunking critiques concerning King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Crusades. Also interspersed is information about living in castles, swords, armor, and jousts. The main text appears on the left of each double-page spread. Half of that page and all of the facing page contain a number of small illustrations with clarifying information in small print. A lot of information is packed into the format of a typical picture book (32 pages). Includes an index and factual information about Sir Guy.
VOYA - Kevin Beach
The author, cleverly described on the cover as "scribe and illuminator," takes a skeptical look at the stereotypes surrounding the handsome, adventurous medieval knights and their chivalrous era known as the Dark Ages. He goes about debunking the glamorous, exciting life of the typical knight by highlighting scores of responsibilities that these men endured as landlord, planter, military trainer, judge, banker, and merchant. The legend of King Arthur and heroic deeds like the slaying of dragons grew out of traveling minstrels' tales much later on and contributed to historical misconceptions. These exaggerated exploits are examined along with the basic concept of feudalism, the hierarchy of the nobility, the authority of the church, everyday life in a typical castle and village (including bathroom habits and hygiene), the truth about armor and weaponry, and the tragedy surrounding the crusades. All of the above topics are presented in a fun way, with informative yet humorous illustrations accompanying the text. This highly entertaining yet educational work is the first in a planned series that will separate romance from fact for other historical occupations such as pirates and cowboys. There are even faux recommendations from medieval notables on the back cover praising the book. Like Eleanor of Aquitaine, this reviewer found the book "amusing and charming."
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Adkins debunks the romantic ideas about knights and chooses to show the "real deal," instead. He starts with Arthur and the Round Table, explaining how troubadours and storytellers spread pretty tales that had little basis in reality. He explains the feudal system and describes the life of Sir Guy of Wareham, who spent his days running his large farm. He served as a merchant, a banker, and even as the local judge, and was responsible for the health and safety of not only his wife and children, but also all of the peasants who lived on his land and worked for him. Using a question-and-answer format, Adkins holds readers' interest by including details that humanize the information. While the approach is inviting and the narrative is lively and full of facts, the format may be a bit off-putting. The main text is in a standard-size font, but a great deal of additional material is in much smaller, captionlike paragraphs. The illustrations are numerous, intricate, and beautifully rendered, but smallish. Although most of the depictions are innocuous, one shows a beheading by sword. An excellent extended-reading resource and a good choice for children interested in the period.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"The Code of Chivalry was very sweet, but an ambitious knight went about whacking off arms and heads as often as possible." In a similarly eye-opening follow up to What If You Met a Pirate? (2004), Adkins brushes aside common misconceptions about knights and knightly behavior, inviting readers to "Meet the Real Deal"-one Sir Guy of Wareham-and conducting a brisk tour of his administrative duties, along with glimpses of castle life and staffing, how to don armor, the course of the Crusades and like topics. Furnishing plenty of small figures in plate armor and other period dress, many playfully depicted within a stained glass window or on a long strip a la the Bayeaux Tapestry, the author dishes up a generalized but entertaining survey, with just a dash or two of gore, which will be snatched up by young squires and damsels. (Nonfiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596431485
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/22/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Adkins, called "the consummate teacher" by David Macaulay, is the author and illustrator of more than three dozen books covering history, technology, and many other topics. They include Bridges: From My Side to Yours ("An outstanding book for reference and enjoyment"—The Horn Book) and What If You Met a Pirate? (see page 30). Jan Adkins lives in Novato, California.

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