FICTION

The Knight Who Said “No!”

Nosy Crow. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536208139.
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PreS-Gr 2–Ned is a tiny knight with a lot on his plate. As the only child in the whole village, Ned helps all the adults with various tasks such as picking cabbages and getting firewood. He is always accommodating and ready to pitch in. Until one day, when Ned has finally had enough. Instead of a helpful ‘YES!’ to any request, his answer is now an emphatic ‘NO!’ Meanwhile, the red dragon who threatens the town every evening has also reached her breaking point. Lonely and tired of roaring, the dragon and Ned both recognize that they are kindred spirits. Kindness and empathy spark a lasting bond and Ned finds it much more fun to share chores with a friend. While the importance of friendship is clear, subtler messages are less so. It’s not clear if Ned’s disobedience is intended to be negative (plain old disrespect and temper), or whether it is actually a positive (a demonstration of personal boundaries when all the adults, including Ned’s parent, seem to be taking advantage of the little imp). Ned’s anger and resentment seem to arise from his extreme loneliness, but as that isn’t clearly stated, the message may be aided by a discussion of healthy emotional expression. The illustrations are lively and colorful. Ned is adorable in his jaunty feathered helm and pint-sized gauntlets. Colorful spreads present myriad details ready for discovery.
VERDICT An enjoyable medieval romp toward a fortuitous friendship.

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