Max and the Midknights

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Max and the Midknights Book Poster Image
Witty, deep, inclusive kids’ adventure in the Middle Ages.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

There’s some advanced vocabulary and history sprinkled in here, and the lessons about working together and being kind are loud and clear -- and nicely illustrated.

Positive Messages

Max and her friends teach others that kindness rules, laughter reigns, and that gender and family history shouldn’t dictate a child’s path in life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The adults are very clearly good or evil, and the good ones are supportive, encouraging, a little goofy, and always want the best for the children.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that graphic novel Max and the Midknights, by Lincoln Peirce (the Big Nate series), is a funny, fast read, written in a great conversational style, with lots of lessons about bravery and kindness. The dialogue, pacing, and each character’s train of thought reflects the way kids both think and speak, and it’s perfectly translated to how young readers might think people in the Middle Ages spoke. Max’s story of a daring rescue mission will grow with readers; the young ones will enjoy the two to three captivating illustrations per page and the witty, engaging writing. Older readers will understand some of the more advanced plays on words and jokes -- and the illustrations. Max and the Midknights tackles some big ideas -- self-determination, gender roles, the cycle of poverty -- with a light touch and age-appropriate humor.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLebron12James3 March 7, 2020

Hi, I made this review to tell you that I am going to do something original

So read my Big Nate Strikes again review to see something that has never been done.
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byRadieroo October 15, 2019

My kid won't put this book down

My 5 yo brings this book to the breakfast table, to the bathroom, etc. She is just beginning to read but the pictures help her follow the story, and we've... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 28, 2020

Perfectly Adequate and Harmlessly Enjoyable

Okay, so, I'm going to split this review up into two sections. One section is, I guess the parental guidance section, that's what I'll call it, a... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 11, 2020

What's the story?

Danger and hilarity lurk around every corner in the MAX AND THE MIDKNIGHTS. It's the Middle Ages, and Max wants to be a knight, but the kingdom’s rules state that children must have the same career as their parents, and that girls can’t be knights. So Max is a reluctant apprentice troubadour until fate pushes her to lead a group of misfit kids to rescue her uncle Budrick from the evil King Gastley’s castle and try to restore kindness to the kingdom. But first she must battle dragons, robbers, an evil king’s army, the spells of a cruel sorceress, and the expectation that girls can’t be as fierce and capable as boys.

Is it any good?

With its balance of adventure, humor, big ideas and great little illustrations, this Middle Ages-era escapade is a quick, engaging read. Max and the Midknights meets readers where they are, presenting big concepts in simple ways so there’s something for everyone. Emerging readers will follow the story with the illustrations, and advanced readers will start to think about careers, gender roles, equity, and bravery -- and what it really means when your uncle accidentally becomes a duck. Words within the illustrations are great. Foe example, a wizard’s spell goes “Poof!” but when the magic doesn’t go as planned, the picture of the second try simply says “Re-poof!” The subtle wittiness of Max and her friends is fabulously enjoyable, and it’s all wrapped up in a message of kindness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how each member of Max and the Midknights feels about having to follow in their parents’ footsteps. What would you think if your destiny was determined by your parents’ jobs or whether you're a boy or girl? Do you think it could be?  

  • The king shuts the orphanages but has a law against living on the streets, leaving kids like Simon and Millie with nowhere to go. What are their best options? How is homelessness then different or the same as it is today? 

  • What other graphic novels do you like?

Book details

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