Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

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

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

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
Language

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love graphic novels and history

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate