Knights vs. Dinosaurs

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Knights vs. Dinosaurs Book Poster Image
Silly fantasy has lots of kid appeal and fantasy violence.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A note in the back explains that the dinosaurs shown in the story didn't really live at the same time or in the same place, and provides some brief facts about some of them. The saying "might makes right" is explained.

Positive Messages

By working together you can accomplish much more than you can on your own. Girls can be good squires and women can be excellent knights. Bragging about something you did can lead to trouble if other people's expectations of you are raised too high. When you do something truly amazing, you don't need to brag about it or exaggerate. A character shows his belief that might makes right by resolving all his problems with violence or physicality; but he's a good guy and learns the value of teamwork along with the other knights. Brief mention that King Arthur believes a ruler's might should only be used in service to the people. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two great role models for girls: The squire who goes along on the adventure and one of the knights are females disguised as male. Once their disguises are revealed, they prove that they're important, even life-saving members of the team and are accepted by the others. The male knights model heroics, bravery, and eventually teamwork, but they also act rashly and launch into dangerous situations without thinking things through.

Violence & Scariness

Lots of fantasy violence involving knights fighting off dinosaurs. None of the drawings are graphic or gory, but some of the descriptions mention gouging a dinosaur's eyes out and bludgeoning. One drawing shows a sword sticking out of a dinosaur's foot, and another shows a dinosaur being hit on the jaw with a mace. The text mentions that one character is bloody after a fight, but no one is seriously injured and no pain is described. As you'd expect, the knights fight with swords and maces, and the dinosaurs lash with their tails and gnash and chomp with their teeth.


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.

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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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

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