Children's Literature - Leah HansonGrab your armor and sword, it’s off to battle! Readers become part of the story in this exploration of medieval knights through the eyes of an eight-year-old preparing to walk the path of knighthood. Going beyond the romantic archetype of the knight in shining armor, each chapter in this humorous how-to approach to knighthood details what life was really like in medieval England, from the constraints of a strict class society to the dangers of brutal battle. Young readers may be surprised to discover that knights not only had to train for battles and become skillful horsemen, but also were required to understand heraldry and negotiate a careful balance between loyalty to their lord and living according to one’s ideals. A majority of the book focuses on the mechanics of battle, the weapons a knight uses, and the many gruesome ways to die. Three medieval ladies are briefly given the spotlight, but the half page mention feels like an afterthought. An introductory timeline mentions historical figures associated with knights, while the overall text sticks to generalities. Antram’s trademark cartoon illustrations capture a comical version of medieval times and are sure to get some laughs. Pair this volume with Knight (DK Eyewitness Books) for a balance of facts and fun. Reviewer: Leah Hanson; Ages 8 to 12.
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