From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—Roland has always wanted to be a knight, but he's unlikely to achieve his dream since he doesn't come from a noble family. Then a messenger of the court arrives at his father's forge to proclaim that the blacksmith's fine armor has saved the life of the king during battle. To show his gratitude, the king has extended an invitation to one of Mr. Wright's two sons to become a page at the castle and a knight in training. Roland is beside himself with happiness until his brother also declares an interest, forcing their father to choose between them. To help make his decision, Mr. Wright creates a contest complete with jousting, archery, and other physical tests. How the scrawny, younger Roland goes on to beat his much bigger and more athletic sibling becomes a tale of more than just physical abilities. This engaging book, the first in a series, has accurate details about the Middle Ages and a feisty, persevering hero who demonstrates the qualities of a true knight, such as being a good loser and respecting others. Rogers's charming pen-and-ink illustrations enhance the story and may also make it more appealing to reluctant readers. A tiny picture of Roland's long suffering and adorable pet mouse, Nudge, appears at the end of each chapter in a pose that reflects the action that has just taken place. Boys, especially, will enjoy this story of chivalry, knighthood, and adventure.—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
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The year is 1409 and, more than anything in the world, nine-year-old Roland Wright wants to grow up to become a knight. But how can he? His father is only an armorer. True, he is the best armorer in all the land but, still, he is not a nobleman and only those of noble birth can aspire to knighthood. Or can they? One day a retinue of visitors from the Royal Court unexpectedly arrive at Roland’s father’s armory, and things suddenly get interesting! Readers will learn a lot about armor and what it takes to become a knight in this first volume of a planned Roland Wright series from Australia. The story is as quietly charming as the black-and-white illustrations by Greenaway Medal–winning artist Rogers. As a bonus, readers will find the first chapter of volume two (Brand-New Page) waiting for them at the book’s end. Grades 2-4. --Michael Cart