Monday, March 30, 2015

The Princess and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights by Steven Lenton (Nosy Crow Books)

The Princess and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights

Written and Illustrated by
Steven Lenton

Published by Nosy Crow

Super-talented top illustrative guy Steven Lenton very kindly got in touch with us to ask if we'd like to take a look at his latest book. "WOULD WE!" we shouted with glee. You see we happen to know that not only is Steven a supremely talented chap, but he's also the type of guy who's not going to settle for just any wishy washy tale of princesses and dragons, oh no.

Step forward the wonderful hero of "The Princess and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights", written and illustrated by Steven. Princess Daisy is definitely not content to be a stay-at-home Princess despite the King's wishes. So when mysterious rumblings and growlings disturb the good townsfolk, who come to the king for help, Princess Daisy wants to join the quest to discover the source of all that kerfuffle.

Dad (the King, who we read with a sort of broad brummie accent for some reason!) is a bit of a clod so insists Daisy stays home while three (nincompoop) knights vow to slay whatever beast is making all the fuss, in exchange for the usual gratuities (a huge bag of gold, vaaaaaaaast tracts of land and Princess Daisy's fair hand! Poor Daisy!!)

One Knight is vain, but a complete coward, skittering off at the first sign of trouble (in case he gets his perfectly teased tresses in a mess). One knight is all brawns and no brain (with a builder's bum to boot, eeks!) who looks more likely to trip over his sword than defeat the dragon. The last knight is clever, but perhaps a bit too clever for his own good (this fellah incurred Charlotte's wrath, how DARE he use a cute kitten as a lure for his big snappy trap! He should be ashamed of himself!) Thankfully the silly brainbox knight's trap backfires spectacularly with no kittens harmed in the process (and for that matter no dragons either, just a goodly chunk of armour lost around the botty area for the silly fool!)

A mysterious figure steps forward, clad in a haphazard collection of armour and riding a cow (of all things!) The stranger steps bravely into the cave armed with a rather strange array of weapons. A story book? A baby's bottle full of milk? What craziness is this?

When the stranger emerges unsinged with the cutest (and we really do mean the CUTEST!) baby dragon you've ever seen in tow, the story takes an unexpected and delightful twist but even more so when you find out just who that mysterious stranger is (we won't spoil the surprise for you but you may have already guessed!)

Steven's story rhymes beautifully, is wholly entertaining from start to finish, and sends out the sort of awesome mighty girl messages that we just love to see in children's books. His illustrations are (as ever) utterly brilliant. We loved the depiction of Princess Daisy, she's adorable - and we even loved those nincompoop knights but the gorgeous baby dragon steals the show - particularly loved the fact that Steven drew a doodle of her (and Charlotte insisted it was a she!) in the front too!

If your little ones want a refreshing change from the usual "brave knight rescuing hapless damsel while biffing dragon" stories of yore, then "Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights" will delight them for sure!

Charlotte's best bit: Sheer outrage at the use of kittens as dragon bait in the brainy knight's trap! How very DARE he!

Daddy's Favourite bit: Pitch-perfect rhyming, glorious illustrations and a novel and neat twist cutting a dash through tired old fairytale tropes to deliver a stunner of a story! We likey!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Steven Lenton, what a top dude he is!)

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