I received an ARC of The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Daniel Errico, illustrated by Shiloh Penfield, is the story of Cedric, who grows up on a pumpkin farm while dreaming of becoming a knight.
This picture book has beautiful, engaging illustrations and is told in rhyming couplets. It moves along at a good pace but manages to fit a lot of background in at the same time. It builds up from Cedric as a young boy playing on the farm to the feat of bravery that earns him an apprenticeship with a knight to his own knighting and his first solo quest as an adult.
On that quest, he comes across a brother and sister – prince and princess – trapped in a castle guarded by a fearsome dragon. Cedric uses some ingenuity and his pumpkin-farming background to defeat the dragon and rescue the kidnapped royals.
After a companionable journey back to the royals’ kingdom, the princess proposes to Cedric… who summons all his courage to tell her that actually, he’s fallen in love with the prince!
This book was everything I wanted it to be. Cedric is an endearing character and the story feels full and complete; sometimes stories in rhyme lack depth due to the narrative constraints, but this one managed those constraints admirably. There were one or two places where the rhymes were slightly awkward, but for the most part it all flowed and it would be a great read-aloud.
(There are also a few subtle hints in the story leading up to Cedric’s big reveal; gotta love a picture book that can handle foreshadowing!)
I loved the art, too. It was nicely detailed and cheerful; it fit the tone of the story well. High marks all around. And there’s apparently a new Hulu original series based on the book!
The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Daniel Errico, illustrated by Shiloh Penfield
Expected publication: April 28, 2019