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Summary: A long, long time ago, the house on Mapleham Court was actually a castle. The knights that once protected the castle are now charged with protecting young Oliver Lindenberry. When Magnabumble (a knight) finds someone in Oliver's room, he's sure they are there to steal something. Is he right?
This is a cross between a traditional chapter book and a comic book.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Young Reader Reaction: I really like the characters; they were pretty funny during some parts. I thought that the plot was pretty funny, but at the same time it was random. I didn’t like the whole idea. I thought it was kind of pointless and weird. Also, each scene just jumps to one another at a very random time. I would recommend this book to a third or second grade level. If I was back in 2nd grade I would die for this book, but not at 12 years old. If I were to chose between buy or borrow this book from my library, I would probably buy it; but not as a gift. One thing that I did learn was how incredibly unrealistic I must have been in second grade, and that Ed Baker reminded me a lot of the author, Dave Pilkey (Captain Underpants series). So over this entire book was pretty decent.
Adult Reader Reaction: The wordplay is clever and helps engender it to adults. At first I thought it was corny, and I found the sidebars (there are lots of them) distracting, but I kept reading anyway to find out how it all ends.
Pros: The story reads VERY quickly. The sentences and chapters are short, which will appeal to struggling and/or reluctant readers. The author adds in some words that will stretch this audience's vocabulary. The illustrations give visual depth to the wordplay/humor.
Cons: Fewer sidebars and extra explanations would make the story a little more fluid.
Borrow or Buy: Borrowing is enough for most of us. If you're trying to engage boys in reading, though, this is the kind of story they'll come back to a lot. Definitely worth the $6.00 investment.
Educational Themes: There are no themes (explicit or implicit) that jump out. There is, however, potential to get kids engaged in creating their own stories, either about the knights or other miniature protectors that watch over them at night.