cover image The Storybook Knight

The Storybook Knight

Helen Docherty, illus. by Thomas Docherty. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3814-8

The duo behind The Snatchabook takes readers back to medieval times to meet Leo the mouse, “a gentle knight/ in thought and word and deed.” Leo would rather read than fight, and readers first see him contentedly perched on a tree branch with his nose in a book while a melee unfolds in the valley below—a scene that brings to mind another happy pacifist, Ferdinand. Sent packing to fight a local dragon (“One morning Leo’s parents said/ they’d like to have a chat./ There was nothing wrong with reading,/ but he couldn’t just do that!”), Leo encounters three belligerent beasts—a pugilistic griffin, a ravenous bridge troll, and finally the fiery red dragon—and persuades them to become peace-loving bibliophiles by showing them that they are stars in the storybooks he’s brought along. (With such a gift for handselling, Leo could easily make it work as a bookseller if the knight thing doesn’t work out.) Helen Docherty’s breezy rhyming and Thomas Docherty’s lighthearted, imaginative cartooning make this a sweet, fresh take on the typical reading-is-fun tale, while also slyly nodding to our culture of personal celebrity. Ages 4–up. (Oct.)