Saturday, 23 January 2010

Knight Time by Jane Clarke and Jane Massey (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

2008, Red Fox Books
24 pages, Paperbac
Review copy

Picture Book (with flaps!)

Every night, when their daddies tuck them in,
Little Knight dreams of fierce knight-eating dragons
and Little Dragon dreams of dangerous dragon-slaying knights.

But one dark, stormy night, their two worlds collide and Little Dragon and Little Knight discover that they both have teddy bears and cuddly blankets – and they’re not scary at all!
“It's silly to hunt each other!” they tell their daddies.
And so it is.

Simple language and powerful imagery shows up the nature of mistaken prejudices and uncovers the universality of night-time fears by using characters who are naturally scared of each other. The result is a reassuring bed-time book with a difference.

When I saw the cover, my original was 'Awww! So cute." Repeat that phrase for every page, and the picture is painted for how I feel about the book. It really is cute! I love how on most of the pages both the Little Knight and the Little Dragon (personally I think they are both boys, but its hard to tell with the dragon) are on separate pages. The story talks about how the two youngsters get ready for bed, the routines they go through, the dreams they have. The Little Knight is terrified of Dragons, and the Little Dragon is terrified of Knights. So naturally they both had bad dreams about each other, then they go off and get lost in the woods. They get discovered by a parent...but it turns out to be the one they had feared the most. Seeing the Little Knight in the Dragon's arms, and the Little Dragon in the Knight's arms was a big 'awww' moment, because they learnt that they aren't so scary after all. The pictures which follow have the Little Knight and the Little Dragon playing together, doing everything apart from sleeping together. And they have nice dreams.

The similarity of the Little Knight and the Little Dragon's life is clear from the pictures: not only is their routine the same, but they have similar toys (the Little Knight has a dragon toy, and the Little Dragon as a knight toy. I like how the toys are placed on the windowsill (and then create a scary silhouette. The two children are sweet because when they set out into the wood, they take a toy and their blanket with them.

This book is interactive: at the end the blankets have a different texture to the rest of the picture. There are plenty of flaps to lift up - flaps which had me smiling. On the pages where both the children are in the woods, the flaps for the forest are huge. Yes, the animals look a little scary, but they have got personalities two. The foxes look scary. The flying bats could look scary, but the sleeping bats are cute. The owl hoots could be scary - but the owls look a little demented! I think the mice are just afraid of the foxes - the owls aren't on the hunt for a tasty snack.

The pastel shades add to the sense of cuteness. The story is written in a way that children will be able to remember it easily (after hearing it many times). I know this is enjoyed by children because I've had one commenter saying how she reads it to her children. It shows that things which appear scary, often aren't. People may be different, but they are still people. Perhaps adults ought to read this book and learn to get a long with each other a little better in the world

(Nearly forgot to mention my favourite children's knight book of all time is Jane and the Dragon by Martin Baynton)

Check out The Trouble With Dragons by Debi Gliori (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)


String said...

Hi Nayu
Thanks for your kind words. I have just discovered your blog. Best Wishes. Jane Massey

Nayuleska said...

You're most welcome Jane. It's such a cute book.