cover image Midsummer Knight

Midsummer Knight

Gregory Rogers, Author Roaring Brook/Porter $16.95 (32p) ISBN

Rogers’s devious William Shakespeare is back, this time as a mutinous midsummer fairy, in this cheeky mock-Elizabethan sequel to The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard . All the first book’s key players, like a professional thespian troupe, assume new roles in this wordless romp, with the golden-hearted Bear in the starring role and the Bard again playing a dastardly villain. In small print that doesn’t intrude on an otherwise uncaptioned graphic sequence, Rogers writes, “The last time I saw my friend the Bear he was adrift on the Thames River, about to vanish under the arches of old London Bridge.” Readers next see the sleepy brown Bear drifting in his rowboat and bumping ashore in an idyllic grove. In a perfect fantasy transition, the Bear discovers a tunnel and emerges in a parallel forest where he is of Lilliputian dimensions. After nearly becoming lunch for a hungry songbird, he is rescued by a child with antennae and fluttering wings and taken to a fairy castle. However, a vile coup has been instigated by the Bard, a fairy courtier with antennae and wings too. The heroes are thrown in the dungeon with the betrayed fairy king but inevitably escape; in a furious slapstick battle, the Bear helps restore the throne, earning his Midsummer Knighthood. Rogers expertly composes the fast-paced comic panels, specializing in towering bird’s-eye views of the fairy forest and in crowded rooms busy with over-the-top silly action. Readers need not know the original story, but it adds to the fun of this rambunctious silent comedy. Ages 6-9. (May)