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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quick, Silly Knight's Tale is Sure to Please

Everybody knows Sir Lancelot was the greatest knight in Camelot, but did you know that he liked to indulge in an afternoon nap ... or two ... or three? Did you further know that his superior skills actually kept him from competing in jousts? If this is news to you, you'd better head to the library and check out The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris. The novel, geared toward the 10 and under set, introduces readers to a talented, but lazy man who somehow managed to make himself a legend.

The story begins when Lancelot leaves France bound for England. He has only one goal: To become one of King Arthur's knights. Almost as soon as he steps onto English soil, Lancelot meets throngs of knights wanting to challenge him. Of course, he's triumphant, but the knights keep coming and, darn it, all these skirmishes are getting in the way of his precious afternoon naps. First, he has to contend with a damsel in distress whose trickery gets him stuck in a tree, then he's caught by 4 queens who threaten to throw him in the dungeon if he can't decide which one to marry, then he gets hit in the rump with a - well, you'll just have to see. Suffice it to say, his life's getting a little too active for his liking.

When Sir Lancelot decides to chuck it all for the quiet life, things soon get out of hand. Will the knight ignore his true calling in favor of long afternoon naps? Or can he be brought out of retirement to save Camelot? The reluctant hero will have to make the ultimate choice to save the kingdom and its queen.

As you can probably tell, The Adventures of Sir Camelot the Great doesn't contain a lot of substance. It's a quick, silly read that will keep kids engaged. It's not necessarily going to teach them much, but they will definitely enjoy it. My 10-year-old son whipped through it in about an hour and thought it was hilarious. I laughed a bit myself. Don't get me wrong - the book's not going to win a Newbery any time soon. Still, it's a pretty fun read. I recommend it, especially for reluctant readers who just want something quick and enjoyable.

Grade: B

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