Book Title: Max and the Midknights (available here)
Publication Date: Feb 2020
Most Suitable For: Ages 6-9
Reviewed By: Hilary Nicholl
Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid remain hot titles in primary school, but where can a child who has exhausted them all be pointed to next? Jeff Kinney (Wimpy Kid books) and Dav Pilkey (author of the Dogman books) recommend Max and the Midknights and that might well be enough to persuade your child to give it a go.
A mix of traditional text and graphic novel elements, Max and the Midknights is by Lincoln Peirce who also created the Big Nate stories. It was originally intended as a TV series and the story is quite episodic with very frequent surprises, plot twists and scene changes.
Set in the Middle Ages, knights, wizards, peasants, magic, dragons and dastardly royalty feature strongly but these are given a modern take and important questions are also posed. Why should only boys become knights? Should children have to follow in the family profession? These points are not pushed unduly but deftly woven into the plot. They mean that this book can be confidently recommended for both girls and boys to enjoy.
If you happened to be studying the Middle Ages, this book could be good fun in the classroom as it uses authentic vocabulary such as ostler and troubadour.
As so much of each page is in cartoon form, this would also be a good book for those who need to build their stamina toward longer books – it feels (and looks) like a chapter book but is a lot less demanding. It would be better read by (or to) an individual child as the images would not work well as a read-aloud unless a visualiser or other tool could be used.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.
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