Knighthood for Beginners

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From Elys Dolan, the creator of brilliant picture books such as Weasels, comes a very funny new fiction series for young readers.

Dave is no good at being a dragon. He doesn’t like to eat villages or hoard gold and his knitting is terrible (the skills required to achieve full dragonhood). But Dave loves to read. Having failed his dragon test, he turns to his favourite book, Knighthood for Beginners. With the help of German wunder-goat Albrecht – trusty steed and life coach – can he become a knight despite the teeny, tiny problem that as a dragon, he is their sworn enemy?

Packed with madcap humour in both text and illustration, fun sight gags and a handy German glossary at the back (!), this is joyful storytelling perfect for reading aloud with the opportunity for lots of voices and fun accents!

If writing for this age group requires an endless supply of brilliant, barmy creativity then this series should run and run. Hurrah!

Knighthood for Beginners and Wizarding for Beginners, by Elys Dolan, published by Oxford University Press, are out now.

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Weasels

weasels

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.

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