Title & Author: Knights of the kitchen table by Jon Scieszka
Summary: In this fast-paced adventure, three silly boys use a magical book to travel through time and have many adventures with King Arthur, the Knights of the Roundtable and Merlin, the Magician. Their humor is fitting of middle grade readers.
Reference: Scieszka, J. (1991). Knights of the kitchen table. New York, NY: Viking.
My Impressions: Although I am not too familiar with writing for this age group, I am familiar with the author and was pleasantly surprised at this silly but funny trilogy of stories, The Time Warp Trio.
Professional Review: The author of the hilarious The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (1989) comes up with an entertaining formula in this first "Time Warp Trio" story: Narrator Joe is given a magic book ("The Book") that transports him and two friends to King Arthur's Britain, where they find themselves confronted by a fearsome Black Knight--who's easy to defeat with some quick dodging when he's in mid-charge. Then Lancelot, Gawain, et al. happen by and take the boys for heroes--a reputation they sustain by tricking the loathsome giant who's menacing the castle into fighting the terrible dragon (Smaug) that has also just turned up. Scieszka unobtrusively slips in several classic references and defines some chivalric jargon by having the boys comically paraphrase it; there is some daring juvenile humor on the subject of the giant's various atrocious smells, and the contrast between the boys' breezy manner and the knights' pseudo-formality is also good for several laughs. A little forced, but this should serve its purpose. Smith's drawings deftly reflect the blend of everyday kid with zany, mock-gruesome adventure. See also a simultaneously published sequel, The Not-So-Jolly Roger, reviewed below (in brief).”
Reference: Knights of the Kitchen Table. (1991, April 15). [Review of the book Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka]. Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1991. Retrieved from http://kirkusreviews.com
Library Uses: Any of Scieszka’s books are great fodder for read-alouds for middle grade story times, book clubs, or in a writer’s workshop where humor writing is the focus.