Knight Survival Guide

978-0-7787-7855-4. ea vol: 24p. (Crabtree Connections Series). illus. photos. reprods. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Crabtree. 2011. PLB $21.27; pap. $6.95.
Gr 1–3—Fighting, feasting, and jousting make knights interesting, and Claybourne's book has fun pictures and facts about how to become a knight, being captured by the enemy, and partying with beautiful ladies. Some pages organize the information in list format, which enhances comprehension. Also, readers will enjoy the tips featured on each page. This resource is excellent, but on the final page, information about quests is presented and dragons seem to be real. This mixing of fiction with nonfiction is confusing. Mason explains the three-step process to becoming a knight: page, squire, and knighthood. He takes a boy from page at age 7 to squire at 14, when he stands next to his knight during battles. If the squire survives to age 21 and has obeyed all the rules, then the king declares him a knight. Little glamour and a good amount of disgusting facts make this a perfect read for boys interested in medieval times. While probably true, the last sentence is a downer: "However, if a knight isn't killed in battle, he will probably die young anyway from disease." Realistic photos and illustrations appear on every page.—Rachel Artley, Watertown Elementary School, TN

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