Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, Book 2)
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's nothing of concern here. Time travel is fascinating to the young imagination, set here in a story with plain, repetitive language and short sentences, sprinkled with facts about castles and knights.
What's the story?
Eight-year-old Jack and his 7-year-old sister Annie recap their first adventure with the dinosaurs. Upon finding a blue leather bookmark in the pages of a castle book, they wing their way via traveling treehouse to the Middle Ages.
Here, they witness a feast in the Great Hall. When they are questioned, \"Who art thou?\" the two run for cover, finding themselves caught in a room full of armor. Three unsavory guards corner them in the dungeon, until Annie pretends her flashlight is a magic wand and stuns them.
A trapdoor provides easy escape into the moat filled with crocodiles, when along comes a knight on horseback, delivering them to safety. At home, Jack notices an M on the bookmark, and concludes that the same person who dropped the coin in the first adventure also owns the books and is responsible for the magic in the tree house.
Is it any good?
The Middle Ages fascinate kids, but this is one flying tree house adventure with a ho-hum plot that never really gets off the ground. Jack does his usual observing, and Annie her characteristic disappearing act, but witnessing the Middle Ages from doorways and through windows is not enough.
Still, kids will find a dash of humor to enjoy, such as eating peacocks, the silly names of the three guardsmen -- Squinty, Mustache, and Red (who ask them if they are "Spies? Foreigners? Egyptians? Romans? [or] Persians?") -- not to mention the moment when the two central characters discover the meaning of precipice and tumble into a moat.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the medieval background. How much of this is true, how much made up? If they read other books in the series, they could talk about what they like best, and what about the main characters stays true throughout.