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Brothers of the Knight Hardcover – September 1, 1999

26 customer reviews

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Hardcover, September 1, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Twelve Dancing Princesses have nothin' on the 12 sons of Reverend Knight, a Harlem preacher. Narrating the tale in a chatty if somewhat rambling voice, the family dog, Happy, explains that this man "raised his sons with a firm, loving hand... but a lot was goin' on that couldn't be explained." Actress, choreographer and producer Allen gives a familiar tale a hip spin as the brothers dance each night from one roof to the next to reach the Big Band Ballroom. There they swing till dawn, returning home with shoes "worn to threads, messed up, torn up, stinky, dirty, tacky, jacked up." Sunday, a sharp, attractive housekeeper with magical powers, discovers the siblings' secret, but she keeps mum, waiting instead until the kids themselves are ready to 'fess up to their dad. They don't and she quits, but all ends happily. Successfully capturing the energy of the swirling, twirling nighttime revelers, first-time children's book artist Nelson's sepia-toned illustrations possess the precision of line accorded to pen-and-inks, filled out with a full palette of oil paints. He's equally adept with the interiors of the church as with rooftop scenes of the boys whooping it up under starlit skies. A funky, fresh adaptation. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4-A spin-off of the Grimm tale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," this is the story of Preacher Knight and his attempts to solve the mystery of the worn-out sneakers he finds in his sons' room each morning. Believing that their father would not approve of their clandestine dancing at the Big Band Ballroom, the 12 boys refuse to confide in him. Only when the ingenious housekeeper, Sunday, attempts to reveal the brothers' secret is Reverend Knight's own predilection for dancing disclosed and the family-along with the bewitching Sunday-reconciled. The setting for Allen's fresh imagining is "a little village called Harlem." Her hip text is given spark and personality through the use of contemporary dialect: Sunday's cookies " were jump up and down, slap yo' own self in the face good!" The humor of the story is heightened by the artwork. Nelson's pencil drawings were photocopied and then painted in oils, producing a fine line, minutely detailed characters and settings, and expressively lit coloration. The strutting, high-stepping brothers are full of individuality, attitude, and movement. Text is boxed with old frayed sneakers and laces. Few elements of the Grimm tale remain, except the worn shoes, the illicit dancing, the outsider who solves the mystery, and the cloak of invisibility. However, new elements, such as the gender change and the brothers' motivation for secrecy, fit neatly. The choice of the family dog as narrator is the only false note. His expository remarks, though humorous, sometimes interrupt the flow. Still, don't let this small flaw keep this original title off your dance card.
Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 560L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; 1st edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803724888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803724884
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.3 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,886,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed this reading experience. It is cute and catchy and the illustrations are wonderful. On a deeper level I feel that this story speaks to parent-child communication. As adults, often times we may forget that our children are reflections of us. They come from us. They are the essence of our beings. Sometimes the very thing we try to suppress is the exact thing that our children are drawn to most. Why? Because they come from us. Part of us lives in them. Open, honest communication is the best way to plant seeds in our children's lives. Like a mirror looking back at you, our children will be what they see in us.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Rev. Knight is a fine, upstanding Harlem preacher with 12 sons and one dog. It's actually the dog who is telling the story. Quips he-- "That's right, I'm a talking dog. It's a magical story. (You didn't say anything when that pig was talking in that movie... quiet!)"
Rev. Knight, in addition to having 12 sons (and presumably a very full house and schedule) also has a problem: every night his sons go to sleep but wake up to find their shoes completely worn out. After a rotating slew of housekeepers fails to solve the mystery, radiant housekeeper Sunday moves in. As it turns out, the boys are sneaking out via a secret door in their very loooong bed with the aid of a pointy-eared fellow called the Cookie Man.
Once out of bed-- and out of the locked bedroom-- they proceed on to Big Band Ballroom where everyone dances the night away... Including Sunday, who has donned her special cloak of invisibility.
The story is both a retelling of "The 12 Dancing Princesses" and based on live performances at Kennedy center. However, it left ME (admittedly an adult who may be inclined to ask more probing questions than a younger audience) a bit curious. Secret door in the bed? The Cookie Man? Invisible cloak? Twelve sons and no mother? Dancing at the Big Band Ballroom all night? The story flows, but leaves me feeling like the author is telling the story to an audience who already knows more history of these folk than I do.
The brothers, for example, have wonderful names like Snacky, Lazy Leo and Big Fat Raoul "(likes to act a fool)", and obviously run the gamut in age from 7-17, but we don't know anything about them other than they like to dance (and I'm still curious as to how Rev. Knight GOT 12 sons-- adoption? Biological?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Reverend Knight, a straight-laced and dignified preacher and father of twelve wonderful sons, has a problem. Each morning his sons' shoes are utterly worn out, and no one can figure out how it happens. One day a miracle comes to the Reverend's home in the shape of a new nanny, sweet Sunday. Using a magic scarf, Sunday follows the young men across the rooftops of Harlem to the Big Band Ballroom, where they proceed to dance the night away--and their shoes to pieces. Now that she knows their secret, it is time to teach the young Knights a lesson, and maybe even their father as well.

My son selected this book, and I couldn't be happier. The story is a wonderful updating of the classic tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which is both magical and yet very real. The illustrations, by Kadir Nelson, are wonderful, adding some real power and animation to the story. I love this book, and recommend it to you with all my heart.
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Format: Hardcover
Everything about the author, illustrator, where the book came from and more is on the dust jacket. The book and the illustrations stand on there own. There are simple messages that a child will have to learn. Experience is why a child develops. One odthe messages is all adults were once children. An other is while you may be willing to take all kinds of crazy chances you still wont take a chance on parental trust and vision. Part of being an adult is proving ourselves. The story is a great story because it has all the elements. Then adding the illustrations has to offer a perspective we otherwise might not enjoy. Fantasy and happy endings are a part of life. Almost all of us dream throughout our lives. The father and twelve sons love for each other is enough. We don't need to know about the mother, good or bad. It is not a part of this fantasy. The fact that the family is made more balanced and whole by Sunday does not mean we need to know why a man of God marries a magic woman or how a dog speaks human language. So you find the story offensive or do you think it is wonderful?
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Format: Hardcover
I was browsing in a bookstore today, looking for nothing specific when I happen to come across this great book. I have an 8 yr. old son and I immediately thought that this book would be great for him just by looking at the cover. I sat down in one of those pre-school chairs and began reading. The characters come alive as never before in a children's book. Some books you have to bring much life into the characters. Not this book! The way Debbie Allen gives such detail when she describes the characters, even their names is great. That gives young minds much understanding and teaches them as well as allowing their imaginations to be free. The expressions of the characters are so full of life. Something that our young children don't see enough of. Thank you Debbie for loving our youngsters with such excitement!
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