cover image The Knight Who Was Afraid to Fight

The Knight Who Was Afraid to Fight

Barbara Shook Hazen. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1591-2

Phobic knights are a minor specialty for Hazen ( The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark ). Sir Fred, who faints at the sight of blood, would rather trick or tickle dragons than slay them, and his sword becomes grass-stained from slicing blameless bouquets for his true love, Lady Wendylyn. But Fred's aversion to violence soon attracts the mocking attention of the brutish Melvin the Miffed. Rather than look like a coward in Wendylyn's eyes, Fred agrees to a duel with Melvin. Although he can't get ``a good knight's sleep'' on the eve of the battle, the nervous knight eventually faces his foe with a blunted lance. Melvin, meanwhile, has planned some dirty tricks--all of which backfire and effect his disgrace. Goffe, whose The Legend of Lightning Larry featured a pacifist Wild West cowboy, neatly fills her ink outlines with light, bright watercolors. She favors conventional cuteness over artistic derring-do, and the sweetness of her illustrations matches the placid tone of the narrative. Ages 4-8. (May)