About Young Knights of the Round Table
Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Publication Date (Kindle): May, 2012
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Number of pages: 84
Recommended age: 9+
2013 EVVY Finalist and EVVY Merit Award for Juvenile/Young Adult from Colorado Independent Publishers Assoc.
2013 Ariana Cover Finalist
2012 Silver Award Recipient for YA Fiction from Children’s Literary Classics and the CLC’s 2012 Seal of Approval.
2012 Finalist E-Book Children from USA 2012 Best Book Awards
The Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom centres around the mystery of who has stolen the “King’s Ransom” (i.e., a jewelry-encrusted gold medallion with high symbolic value) and murdered one of the castle’s guards in so doing. When the “Wild Man”, a mysterious figure residing in the Kingdom of Pembroke is accused of the crime, his three loyal friends (Gavin, the youngest prince; Bryan, a blacksmith’s apprentice; and, Philip, the fugitive with a mysterious past), seek to find the real killer and recover the King’s Ransom. The boys have until the arrival of King Arthur in a few days to uncover the identity of the real killer, return the King’s Ransom to the Kingdom, and ultimately save the “Wild Man” who will be put to death for the heinous crimes if the King’s Ransom is not recovered.
My Thoughts: The Young Knights of the Round Table is an absolutely delightful middle grade book. It is a relatively short read at 84 pages; but, the characters, central plot, and themes are all sufficiently developed to make for a riveting story. The story is set in Arthurian times with many mentions of various geographical locations within Wales. Cheryl Carpinello spends much time detailing the setting making you feel as if you are there experiencing the same events as the characters.
I love how the characters (all tween/teen boys) are placed at the heart of the story. The three characters, who are best friends, are each given a chapter at the start of the book to set up their back story. Each of the three boys (Gavin, Philip, and Bryan) are unique in their strengths and weaknesses and you can really see their personal growth as the story unfolds and as each face unique challenges on their quest to save the Wild Man.
Speaking of which, the character of “Wild Man” is a very intriguing one. We know very little of this person throughout most of the book, other than he was a vagrant who came to live in the Kingdom and he befriended the three young boys. The story begins with the revelation that he is accused of murder and theft yet this strong bond between the Wild Man and the boys provides the impetus for the rest of the story. As I was reading the story, I was left wondering why there was such a strong bond to begin with, but the big “aha” moment comes at the end with the revelation of the Wild Man’s true identity (as well as a few other surprises at the end). The end just brings the whole story together and left me feeling completely satisfied.
Many of the themes in this coming-of-age story are timeless. Each of the three main characters battle their demons, show great courage and loyalty, and emerge stronger and more committed to living their lives true to themselves. I think there are many moments of reflection in the story where tweens or teens could identify with one or more of the characters. In fact, I think for this reason and because the story is short and moves along very quickly, this book would be a particularly great fit for “reluctant” readers.
My bottom line: Young Knights of the Round Table is a short, fast-paced adventure set in Arthurian times which features great character development, an intriguing and engaging plot, and a surprise ending (in more ways than one!). I would highly recommend this book to tween and teen boys and girls who love mysteries or stories set in the time of King Arthur. Because there is a murder in the book, I would recommend the book to children aged 10 years and older.
About the Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Although a retired teacher, Cheryl Carpinello still has a passion for working with kids. She regularly conducts Medieval Writing Workshops for local elementary/middle schools and the Colorado Girl Scouts. She is not the only one who loves Medieval Times and the King Arthur Legend. The kids thoroughly enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns and knights!
She loves to travel and her other job is with a major airline. Her favorite trip was a two week visit to Egypt with her husband that included traveling by local train from one end of Egypt to the other. Some of her favorite books include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, and any by the duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Author Site: http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com/
Author Blog: http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com
Facebook page: Author Cheryl Carpinello
Goodreads author page: Cheryl Carpinello
Google+: Cheryl Carpinello
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