Recommended for ages 4-8
Bookish Leo would love to sit and read all day, but his parents insist that he must fight – he’s a knight, after all. Saddling up his horse, Ned, with books and sandwiches, Leo heads out into the world to find a dragon in need of taming, and encounters a host of other storybook beasts, all of whom learn that sometimes, a good story is the best diversion of all!
The Storybook Knight is written and illustrated by the same duo that gave us The Snatchabook, now an award-winnign storytime standard. Kids will love the rhyming text and fantastic story of a gentle knight who finds a less violent way to bring peace to a nearby village. There’s a sense of excitement as Leo embarks on his quest, where he proves, time and again, that a good book can remedy most ills. It’s a gentle story that makes for a great bedtime, storytime, or anytime story.
Thomas Docherty’s acrylic inks and watercolors, on hot pressed watercolor paper, provide a real fairy tale look and feel to the artwork, with pastoral scenes and fantastic creatures. I love his griffin (even if he is a bit vain), and the dragon is big, orange-red giant with a heck of a temper. When Leo finally arrives at his destination, he discovers a huge mess, with dragon poop-lined streets that will get the kids giggling even as they cringe at the stinky destruction wrought by the fiery brute. Mr. Docherty has a gift for wonderful facial expressions – we see the grouchy dragon soften immediately, once Leo threatens to toss a book with lots of dragons into the trash unless he cleans up his act. The griffin and troll each start out fierce, but turn into smiling, even preening, gentlemen once presented with a book starring someone like them.
And that’s the final gift that Storybook Knight gives us: it shows readers how wonderful it is to find yourself represented in a book. In its own way, The Storybook Knight is a fantasy championing of the need for diversity in children’s lit. Read this book with your fantasy books – maybe Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great or If I Had a Gryphon – and display books for your community nearby, so kids can find pictures of families that look just like theirs.
Great addition to storytime collections!
Helen Docherty’s author website includes free, downloadable resources that work with many of her books. You can also learn more about school visits and author talks, and find more information about her books.