Max & The Midknights
Macmillan Children’s Books
Author/cartoonist Lincoln Peirce mixes comic strip and conventional prose to plunge readers back to the Middle Ages in this enormously engaging, madcap tale of young Max who longs to become a knight.
Max, (who acts as narrator), lives with Uncle Budrick, a totally inept troubadour in whose footsteps, as tradition dictates, the youngster is supposed to follow.
When ‘Sir Budrick’, as the side of his wagon announces, is taken captive by the evil throne usurper King Ghastly, Max and some other kids form The Midknights with the intention of storming the enormous castle where Budrick is imprisoned, rescuing him and restoring kindness to the kingdom.
First though they have to do battle with wicked sorceress, Fendra,
and ghastly, grimy, winged rats; oh and there’s a dragon too.
Then of course, there’s the thorny issue of gender – only boys can be knights – and the fact that your uncle can by accident, become a duck.
The dialogue between the young characters is entirely child appropriate and funny, and there’s plenty of word play and jokes as well, along with lashings of kindness and bravery.
Cleverly woven into the mix too are thought-provoking ideas relating to gender and being able to determine your own future no matter what. I absolutely love the King’s final declaration and the children’s confirmation that “Any child, boy or girl, may become a writer … or a magician … or a knight”.
Finally, a new chapter begins in Byjovian history and Max’s armour certainly shines bright.