Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Setting the Mood for a Knight Party: Picture Book Recommendations

Raising Dragons, by Jerdine Nolen
This is one of those stories that you will love as much as your kids. The prose will lead you into a southern drawl when you read it aloud, and the story will captivate you.  A spunky girl who believes in magic, a family that believes in hard work and taking care of others... joy and a happy ending.  A story that encourages young ones to follow their hearts and be true to themselves.  I am keeping this one long after my kids fledge...

The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Barbara Shook Haven and Tony Ross (ill.)

Go ahead, try not to fall in love with this gentle knight story. Detailed, captivating illustrations will keep your kids enthralled while the story stealthily imparts a universal lesson of facing your fears and the power of love.  A good hearted knight, a heroine, a bad guy, fireflies and electric eels. Sigh. You'll be reading this again and again.

The Marshmallow Incident, by Judi and Ron Barrett
Can Knights solve problems with marshmallows? You'll have to read it to find out!  A town is divided by their "handedness," right or left.  The knights are left to guard the line between two the two factions.  When someone accidentally trips over the line, a marshmallow frenzy is started! This is a great book for parents to begin heavier discussions on "enemies" and sibling rivalry (your side, my side!).  The kids love the humor and incredibly detailed drawings.  The all ages appeal makes it perfect for the family bookshelf.

The Knight and the Dragon, by Tomie dePaola

The story is much lighter and simpler than the three others (above) that I've recommended for you, but it is cute and fun. A very intelligent knight realizes that fighting isn't the best solution to problems. "If the shoe doesn't fit," try another strategy! The dragon reaches the same conclusion. In the end, the two become friends and open a business together. My sons love the magical illustrations and can relate to the characters... I love this great story that illustrates how "enemies" may not be your enemy afterall.

Small Knight and George, by Ronda Armitage and Arthur Robins

This one combines themes from the stories above...  A not-so brave knight is expected to go out and fight fierce dragons.  He doubts that this is the right thing for him to do.  In the end, he stops focusing on fighting to rescue a small helpless creature... who turns out to be a baby dragon!  The two become great friends, and teach the whole castle crowd that enemies can be friends along the way.  The only drawback to the book is the repetitve text. However, my kindergartner loves the detailed illustrations and story, and I like the message!

A Cold Winter's Good Night, By Shelley Moore Thomas

How could we pass this story up given our winter knight themed party?  My son adored this story about a gentle knight who teaches cute but mischievous dragons to use manners.  I love how a knight is used for something besides fighting... yay for gallantry and chivalry!  The only drawback for me is repetitive text/story format.  I was glad to take it back to the library after a month of re-reading it.  However, I did end up checking it out again, and he loved it, again.  I checked out other books in the series but this one is our favorite.


  1. Thank you so much for all the Knight post. My 5 year old bday is Jan 16th. You have done most of the work for me thank you so much.!!!

  2. :) Thank you for the kind words!