Hector and the Big Bad Knight, by Alex T. Smith, is a fun adventure with knights and dragons. What did Emily and Colin and their kids Heidi (5) and Finn (3) make of it?
Hector and the Big Bad Knight is an engaging and suitably silly quest for both parents and children to enjoy. Beautifully illustrated by the author Alex T. Smith, Heidi and Finn delighted in cheering on the plucky, sharp Hector as he refused to let the arrogant, pompous and entitled knight have it all his own way.
The classic tale of the small, downtrodden underdog turning the tables on the powerful, using his wits (not to mention the willing sidekick Norman the chicken) will never get old. The pleasing mix of Hector’s familiar supplies – crisps, scissors and Granny’s umbrella – with the fantastical medieval setting, helps to suggest to young readers that no matter what problems they face or how insignificant they may feel in this strange, mixed-up world we all live in, there is always the possibility of a plan!
While the narrative is a little unclear at times and had to be explained in parts, the illustrations assured this book’s success in our house. Very similar to Julia Donaldson’s Jack and the Flumflum Tree, but perhaps with less successful rhyming sections, it is a good yarn that in our family appealed to boys and girls alike.
Star rating by Heidi and Finn (in a rare moment of agreement):
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hector and the Big Bad Knight, by Alex T. Smith, published by Scholastic, is available now.
Elys Dolan’s picture book Weasels is an anarchic yarn about weasels plotting world domination. What do parents at the coalface of the bedtime story make of it? Daddy and daughter David and Annie (5), who live in North London, share their thoughts…
Annie and I were both very amused by the illustrations in Weasels. The animals interacting with each other over the whole page gave the book an animated feel like an 1980s platform computer game.
I asked Annie what she thought about the book: ‘I like it very much. The drawings are pretty good.’
I was the one doing most of the reading with Annie helping a bit. I found the dialogue distributed across the whole page made it hard to get a good storytelling flow going.
This has bothered me in the past with other books where narrative and dialogue are spread over the page. However, with Weasels it certainly adds to the chaos and no two readings will follow the same order. Annie enjoyed this aspect of the book: ‘I quite like all the different things that are going on at the same time.’
I enjoyed some of the stuff which went over Annie’s head. Caffeine addiction and health and safety rules seemed to suit the weasels.
Annie’s favourite part was the bit where one of the weasels started transforming into a monster (‘I told you not to drink that Professor’, a colleague tells him).
Annie’s rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
David’s rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Weasels, by Elys Dolan, published by Nosy Crow, is available now.