My Brother, the Knight by Laura Driscoll

Jared’s getting kind of annoyed with his little brother’s obsession with all things knightly, so he offers a small wager. Chores for a week are the prize, if Colin can manage to live like a knight did for one full week. Jared thinks it’s a sure thing, but he underestimates just how far his brother is willing to go.

My Brother, the Knight is a multi-layered story, and that makes it good for a variety of ages. The fun-and-games of pretending to be a knight is something my 3-year-old understood. The everyday things Colin does “different” – like refusing to use a fork because real knights didn’t use one – is something my kindergartener found funny. There are a number of “factoid” inserts throughout the book offering actual information on medieval life, which I can see could interest a grade schooler – in fact, the book says it’s intended for Grades 1-3. As an adult, I found Colin simply adorable.

The illustrations are colorful and realistic. While not great art, they convey the storyline well. The text is story-like, featuring dialogue instead of rhyme and repetition. My biggest concern with the story is that it’s written from older brother Jared’s point of view, and I think that added an unnecessary element of complexity. It might have been more effective if written from Colin’s vantage, and possibly made it more relatable for the target audience. While it’s never quite clear just hold old the boys are, Colin is young enough to enjoy playing pretend and old enough for school, while Jared is old enough to be annoyed by the imaginary game. I doubt an average 1st-3rd grader would be there just yet.

This is one of a series called Social Studies Connects, and I’m intrigued by the idea. There are other titles addressing Economics (Bartering), Economics (Scarcity and Value), and Civics (Elections). I’ll have to look them up.

Can I just add that I’m very glad to see a book about the Middle Ages that isn’t centered on princesses?

Available on Amazon

My Brother, the Knight by Laura Driscoll, illustrated by Jerry Smith. Kane Press, 2004.

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