Norman the Knight gets a fright! by Mark Sperring
Ill. by Ed Eaves. Bloomsbury, 2108. ISBN 9781408873991
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Knights, Dragons, Employment. When the four children and their cat apply for the job of helping Norman the Brave, a knight of renown, they are surprised at what he expects them to do. Their work involves darning his large pile of socks, ironing his pants, cleaning his armour and scrubbing him in the bath after fetching loads of hot water. They must then squeeze him into his armour, and use a hoist to lift him into his horse's saddle, after first catching the unresponsive animal. They are all ready to go to the Royal Parade, Norman looking very brave and shiny after all the efforts of his knaves, our four friends by contrast looking shabby and weary. At the parade the knights are set upon by a group of brigands and bandits, while trying to deal with a fire breathing dragon. Norman and the other knights cower in the background while the four knaves take charge, putting out the dragon's fire and seeing off the brigands and thieves.
Norman then puts his knaves further off side by bragging about his exploits at saving the day whereas the knaves know what really happened, making the readers laugh at the knight's duplicity. The work might not be the job for our four friends, and at the end of the story, another workplace seems to be before them, making sure the readers will want to see the next book when the four try out working with a magician.
Told in rhyming pairs of lines, readers will love predicting the rhyming word as each line is read, and be intrigued with some of the new words offered: knave, brigand, bandit, which they may not have come across before. There are hilarious illustrations with lots of detail to look at, funny faces and situations to laugh at, as well as a lesson to be discussed about humility, and information included giving readers an insight into the lives of knights and knaves during Medieval times.