Sir Kevin and the Challenges: Sue Graves

Good afternoon readers, and happy Friday to you all. It’s an odd day today because I’m actually staying in Stoke-on-Trent for the weekend. For me, this is a rather odd occurrence because I’m normally desperate to get back to Silverstone but one of my closest friends from university is coming to stay. We met in an incredibly awkward corridor full of philosophy students during our first day at Keele university. After he remarked how awkward it was in a rather loud voice I let out an equally loud giggle and it’s true to say we’ve been friends ever since. Despite a rather busy weekend planned I have just enough time to bring you this rather charming review. I reviewed another of Sue’s books back on Wednesday and I read this in one sitting snuggled up in bed last night. A wonderfully lovely book and I’m very happy to say I enjoyed it even more than the last.

When Sir Kevin graduates from Knight School, he is very keen to find a job where he can do lots of brave and knightly deeds. One day he spots an advertisement in the newspaper inviting knights to apply for the post of King’s Champion Knight. Sir Kevin is certain that this (is) the perfect job for him and decides to apply for it. However he soon discovers that actually getting the job is going to be far harder than he ever imagined.

First things first I’m going to ignore the mistake in the blurb, unless I’m being silly we’re missing a word. I was a little surprised to see because it’s so important in children’s books that they have good grammar and spelling so hopefully that can be ironed out quickly and easily. The illustrations however are rather darling and the blurb makes for an intriguing start to the book. The book as the blurb states follows Sir Kevin, a just graduated knight who is a little accident-prone. Finding out that his name has been starred as ‘dangerous’ he finally understands why he’s not receiving a great number of requests for his skills. He therefore sets out to find a job for himself. Signing up to compete for the post of King’s Champion Knight, Kevin is quite easily the under dog. Undeterred he squares up against the rather pushy and terrible show off Sir Hugo. The two battle each other in three challenges; crossing a monster infested swamp, saving a damsel in distress and the shooting an apple off a head challenge. Follow this unlikely champion as he fights to prove himself as the victor.

This is an utterly lovely story; first things first both the characters Kevin and Hugo have their own personality traits despite the book being a rather short tale. I think authors sometimes forget that children need intriguing as much as us adults, and interesting characters will help to stir their imaginations. I like the moral told throughout that you should keep going no matter what comes up against you (much like the book I reviewed earlier in the week) but also that thinking outside the box means that your weaknesses can sometimes become your strengths.

Unlike the ‘Hubert Shrubb takes charge,’ book the entirely fictional side of the story makes it a lot more intriguing for me at least and I really liked the way that Kevin worked his way around the challenges despite his lack of ability at being a knight especially seen in the scenes involving the monster infested swamp. The plot moved with pace, as it should for a children’s book and didn’t bog down in the description, which is also important to keep the plot moving. I think the illustrations really helped with this and added to the story well. I additionally thought the twist at the end was a rather lovely ending and showed that even though some strengths may seem unhelpful to you they may be desired by others that don’t possess those skills.

Overall a lovely little story with a good tale and a lovely ending; apart from the little mistake on the blurb which I did find surprising, I really enjoyed this story. A quick read with a good set of characters, good sense of pace and plot. One I would definitely recommend.

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