Tuesday, December 01, 2020

The Battle of the Bodkins (Max and the Midknights #2)

Peirce, Lincoln. The Battle of the Bodkins (Max and the Midknights #2)
December 1st 2020 by Crown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Netgalley

If you have not read the first book, Max and the Midknights, this review may have some spoilers for the series. You have been warned.

Max is struggling in her knight training program because the teacher seems to think that she shouldn't be a knight. It doesn't help that Sedgewick, another knight in training, seems to ally himself with Sir Brickbat. The other Midknights have all found their own passions; Millie is involved with her magic, Kevyn has started a library, and Simon is working with horses. When the group duplicates the one book in Kevyn's library, they unwittingly unlease the threat of Bodkins on Byjovia. Bodkins are the doubles that everyone has (body kins), but are essentially evil. There is always one tiny feature that seems wrong compared to the original person, but this can be hard to detect. When Sedgewick gets sucked into the Bodkins dimension while on a training mission with Max, Max consults Mumblin the magician as well as the king, and tries to put things right. This isn't easy, and of course children are the only ones who can easily travel into the other realm. Will the Midknights be able to once again save the kingdom?
Strengths: Peirce, along with Tom Watson, is really a master of the notebook novel. The ratio of pictures to text is perfect, and he manages to deliver a well-crafted middle grade novel complete with plot, character development, humor, and action. The world building is very solid, and the adults work well with the children. Now that I think of it, Big Nate has a lot of intriguing adult characters as well. 
Weaknesses: I already have a lot of Medievalish Anglo-Saxon stories, albeit none in notebook novel format. Also, I kept reading "Byjovia" as "Bonjovia", and that really puts a WHOLE new twist on the book. 
What I really think: Because he writes an absolutely textbook middle grade novel, I'd love to see Peirce try some stand alone titles combining his humor with the more serious "heart print" topics that teachers and librarians seem to love. Then I could recommend one of his books for a class novel. Mr. Peirce has such a good grasp of the middle school experience that he would pick a topic that students want to read about (losing a friendship, establishing personal identity) rather than ones that are being done to death and are never requested by my students (the death of everyone, anxiety). Definitely purchasing!Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing about this one - I hadn't heard that it was coming out. My daughter will want it for sure.