Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 186: King Arthur's Very Great Grandson

I love any good story, any time, anywhere.  But when I find one that is about something one of my kids is particularly into at the time, it's even better.  When my son was one, he was obsessed with all things wheeled.  Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go was loved so much that we ended up having to get a second copy.  When he was son 2, he still loved cars and trucks, but also adored monkeys.  I found Cha Cha Chimps at the library and we've loved it ever since.  Other recent favorites include animals and dinosaurs (still ongoing), and now that he has turned 5, we've moved into the fabulous, magical world of pirates, knights, and dragons.  Funny how that happens, isn't it?  My son got some awesome pirate and knight Playmobil sets for his birthday and Christmas, as well as the movie How to Train Your Dragon, so we've been in all-out medieval mode for a few weeks now.  So fun!  I never know when one of my own dragons is going to go zooming past me in the kitchen, and I love listening in while they play with Toothless, Nightwing, and Googily (their plush and Playmobil dragons) in the living room.  Needless to say, when I saw this book out on the "New Arrivals" shelf at our local library, I snatched it right up.  I found the cover illustration inexplicably appealing, too, and couldn't wait to read it.  One read through King Arthur's Very Great Grandson and I knew I had to share it here!

Henry Alfred Grummorson is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of the brave King Arthur, "the noblest knight to ever wield a sword."  On the morning of his 6th birthday, Henry wakes up, mounts his trusty donkey steed, Knuckles, and sets out in search of great adventure.  Along the way, he encounters a Dragon, Cyclops, and Griffin, but much to his growing dismay, none of them wishes to take him on in battle.  The dragon simply blows smoke rings, the cyclops wants only to have a staring contest, and the griffin challenges Henry to a ferocious battle of... chess.  Determined, Henry decides to seek out the Leviathan, fearsome creature of the deep sea.  "There in the roiling waters, Henry caught a glimpse of a truly enormous beast just below the surface.  He cleared his throat, gathered together his six years of manhood, and shouted: "READY YOURSELF, MONSTER, AND I SHALL HAVE ADO WITH YOU!"  Has Henry finally met his match?

The ending of this fun, clever story will leaving you giggling and smiling; don't be surprised if you're asked to read it again as soon as you've finished!  I love some of the great vocabulary words scattered throughout the story (uttermost, peril, unsheathe, formidable, and Leviathan, to name a few), and Henry's invitations to "ado" are oh-so-fun to read aloud.  My son breaks into fits of laughter each time we read them.  As for the illustrations, I can't quite put my finger on why I like them so much, but it probably has to do with the contrasting colors and combination of intricate details and subtle, empty space.  I'm even more impressed with the fact that creator Kenneth Kraegel is a self-taught artist and author.  Way to knock your first book out of the park, Mr. Kraegel!  As described on the book's jacket cover, Kraegel "draws from myth and legend to craft a wonderfully inventive tale that is sure to delight adventurers of all ages."  We couldn't agree more.


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