Wednesday, August 26, 2009

REVIEW: The Knight Who Took All Day

Mayhew, J.  (2005).  The Knight Who Took All Day.  New York:  The Chicken House.


A knight wishes to impress the princess.  When he hears that there's a dragon nearby the castle, he takes puts on his armor, sending his paige all over the castle to bring him the best cape, and other accessories to help improve his appearance.

Little does he know, there's a princess taking his cast off bits of armor, also preparing to face the dragon. 

With this picturebook, visual literacy is just as important as the words, since the princess preparation is not actually addressed in the text for most of the story.  

This is also a good book to use as a read aloud to a small group of children, since it incorporates some good vocabulary words and actually emphasizes some of the larger words with different fonts.  I also like that, although it is a story of a knight, there is no violence.

I have to admit though, I was not too impressed by the illustrations.  While they incorporate many colors and some humor, I wasn't a big fan of the crayon-like outlining of the buildings and dragon.  Of course, this could inspire children to draw in response to the book.


While this is a fun book to share, a teacher could also use this as a teaching moment to share all of the components of a Knight's suit of armor.  

For a math lesson, a teacher could emphasize the number 101, which is emphasized throughout the story, to show different ways to add and subtract to reach 101 as a result.  Another option would be to time children to see how long it takes to count to 101...or go up or down 101 steps...see how many M&M each student must eat for the entire class to consume 101 of the treats, etc.

Of course, there are also the morals of "the early bird catches the worm" and of the idea that appearances don't matter so much when your soon to be face to face with a dragon, no matter who is watching.

Quotes of Note:

"There once was a knight who thought he was brave and fearless and handsome.  He longed to show everyone how daring he could be.  He especially wished to impress the princess, who sat in her tower combing her long golden hair."

"Then one day, without warning, a Dragon appeared on the horizon.  And he was a pretty big one, too, with smoke pouring from his terrible mouth. 
The knight was delighted, and ordered the squire to ready his armor."

"Not that armor, you fool!" he bellowed.  "I need my shining armor, with the curly flourishes!  And fetch me a helmet with a visor!"
The squire ran down the hundred and one steps and found the knight's shining armor and helmet.  With a visor."

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