The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived
Author: Daniel Errico
Illustrator: Shiloh Penfield
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
Cedric, our young hero, lived on a pumpkin farm fantasizing about becoming a knight in shining armour.
Daniel Errico left his job as an engineer to pursue a career as a children’s book author. He created the site Free Children’s Stories, believing that every child should have access to stories for free. A self-identified cisgender, heterosexual male, Errico writes a beautiful, touching story about a young pumpkin-farmer turned dashing knight. With a twist.
Quick Rating: Buy & Keep
Cedric, our young hero, lived on a pumpkin farm fantasizing about becoming a knight in shining armour. He engaged in pretend-play with his friends, often donning a suit of pumpkins and rescuing damsels from trolls and dragons. As is often the case in fairytales, Cedric became the apprentice to an actual knight who taught him the tricks-of-the-trade.
Eventually, Cedric grew and became a Knight in his own right. You know what comes next. He rescues a Kingdom from a dragon. And, a princess offers to marry him. So far, we have our average fairytale. Here’s where average stop. Cedric, would rather marry her brother the Prince. The Prince is delighted. After a little hesitation from the King, Cedric and the Prince marry. And they live happily ever after. So happy in fact, that they get their own series on HULU.
Penfield’s illustrations are warm and friendly. They conjure a fairytale land that is both familiar and distinct. Yes, it looks like the world of enchantment, but it has its own unique feel. Particularly delightful is the sequence highlighting the royal wedding, where no expense is spared. The battle with the dragon is also impressive.
It’s On My Bookshelf
It is easy to write a story based on an old trope. It is much harder to write a good story based on an old trope and add a twist. Errico succeeds. What’s particularly striking is that the story gives subtle hints throughout, that all is not as it seems; hints, but not clues that are so obvious that your head aches while you read them. By the time you get to the end, however, everything is as it should be and you’ve been guided, not cattle-proded. Errico presents the marriage as a natural conclusion, not as a political statement. Amen.
The warmth of the rhyme (although a bit forced in places), the simplicity of word choice, and the innocence of the characters, come together to present the material in an easily accessible format for kids.
We need stories like this one. We need stories that show kids that it’s okay to be different and to love whom they choose to love. Too many kids are still growing up the victims of bullying and self-hatred. And that’s, why this book stays on my bookshelf. [End.]
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