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Knights vs. Dinosaurs
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Knights vs. Dinosaurs is a heavily illustrated, action-adventure fantasy well-suited for reluctant readers. There's lots of fantasy violence from, you know, knights fighting dinosaurs. None of the drawings are graphic or gory, and no one gets seriously injured, but the story mentions gouging a dinosaur's eyes out, bludgeoning, and a character who's bloody after a fight. The knights use swords and maces, and the dinos whip their tails and chomp their teeth. Don't think it's all about boy-appeal, either. The two best role models are female: One of the knights and the squire who accompanies them are revealed to be in disguise. Positive messages are conveyed about teamwork and about not bragging. A note at the end explains that the dinosaurs shown here didn't really exist in the same eras or even the same places, and provides some brief facts about some of the dinos depicted in the story.
What's the story?
In KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS, four knights from King Arthur's Round Table find themselves mysteriously transported to a strange world teeming with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs that want to eat them. Or stomp on them. Or charge at them. They suspect that Merlin may be trying to teach them a lesson after Sir Erec bragged about how many dragons he slew on his last quest. But they barely have time to think straight between one dino fight after another. What'll it take to defeat the dinosaurs once and for all and get back to Camelot?
Is it any good?
After a bit of a slow start, this silly, exciting, action-adventure fantasy is loaded with kid appeal -- and not just for boys, either. Knights vs. Dinosaurs has smart, brave girls right in the middle of the fray, too. Lots of lighthearted and funny illustrations, including a few comic-book-type pages, keep the mood upbeat, enhance the sense of adventure and excitement, and will help reluctant readers keep the pages turning.
Don't look for much a plot here. It's about knights fighting dinosaurs, and for plenty of young readers, that's more than enough. Two of the main characters turn out to be female, and they're a couple of great role models for girls as well as reminders that girls can do anything boys can do, sometimes in better and smarter ways, too. The group of main characters learn the value of teamwork, and not to brag about or exaggerate their accomplishments. Good for reluctant readers who can handle a few brief specifics about fighting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Knights vs. Dinosaurs. Is reading a violent story different from seeing violence in a movie or a video game? Does it matter if you know it's a fantasy that couldn't really happen?
Why are fantasy stories with plenty of action and fighting so popular? What do we love about them? What are some of your favorite fantasy stories?
Did you like the illustrations? Do they help tell the story, or do they take your mind off of it? How would you draw a knight or a dinosaur?
- Author: Matt Phelan
- Illustrator: Matt Phelan
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Publication date: October 23, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.