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Knights of the Lunch Table: No. 1 (The Dodgeball Chronicles) Paperback – July 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 4-8–Arthurian legend gets an update for young readers in this outstanding graphic novel. During his first day at Camelot Middle School, Artie King opens a locker that no one has ever been able to open; gets a pop quiz from his science teacher, Mr. Merlyn; and offends both Principal Dagger and bully Joe Roman. Joe is the leader of the Horde, a gang that happens to be the local dodgeball (a game played here with the fervor of Texas football) champions. With his future at Camelot riding on a challenge match, Arthur calls on new friends Wayne and Percy, and gets a little assistance from that mysterious locker. References to other versions of Arthurian legend are sprinkled throughout (such as mentions of Camelot alumni Terry White and Tommy Mallory), but the funny, fast-paced tale of young Arthur's quest to defeat the bullies stands well on its own. The appealing illustrations are full of color, action, and life. Point new fans to one of the many retellings of the deeds of the Round Table while they wait for the second volume in the series.–Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, North Hollywood
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Artie King’s first day at his new middle school is terrible: his nasty older sister ensures he misses the bus; a couple of geeky kids are friendly, but the school bullies smell a new victim; and the principal is a horror who hands out detentions and dire warnings as she peers out from behind her horn-rimmed glasses. Artie has muddied the waters a bit himself by boasting that he’s a dodgeball pro—when he’s really not. Kids familiar with King Arthur legends will like the idea of a mysterious locker, seemingly rusted shut, that opens for Artie and the helpful stranger named Merlyn (who turns out to be Artie’s science teacher and guidance counselor). But kids unfamiliar with Arthur will still like this tongue-in-cheek take on the school rules and games that can dominate a kid’s life. Although the characters seem purposefully multiethnic, Cammuso’s text is witty and his cartoons energetic; his pictures speak as clearly as his words. A good start for the Knights of the Lunch Tale series. Grades 2-4. --Francisca Goldsmith
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While a lot of the elements are pretty common in a book for children -- difficulty of fitting into a new school, dangers of telling a lie, counting on your friends, perseverance -- there are enough witty surprises to make this a very fun read. I enjoyed the art, a nice level of "cartoonishness" to match the story.
This is also one of those rare stories aimed in some ways for kids (see above), and some ways for adults (all the Arthurian and Shakespeare references). That makes it fun for an adult to share this book with a child.
However, the morals of the story are strong and repeatedly presented as natural teaching moments. The art is accessible (as in his other books) being bright, detailed enough to ground the action, but not so busy as to miss what is happening. The story line is not quite as relatable, but still entertaining.
I enjoyed this book for what it was, but missed the added depth the allusions gave to the story.
Full of laughter
P.s. keep making more of these books