Knights of the Lunch Table: The Dodgeball Chronicles by Frank Cammuso
Price: $7.39; 144 pages.
Grade level: 4 – 8
Accelerated Reader: IL: LG, BL: 2.2, AR Pts: 1
Genre: Juvenile graphic novels, humorous comics
Summary: Artie King is new at Camelot Middle School, and things aren’t going his way. The first morning, he manages to get on the school’s mean principal’s bad side and runs into trouble with dodgeball team/school bullies The Horde.
Things aren’t all bad though. Artie gets a assigned a weird, old locker that only he can open, and makes friends with Percy, Wayne and science teacher Mr. Merlyn. The mysterious locker also contains all kinds of useful stuff he can use to go head-to-head with The Horde in a do-or-die dodgeball game.
Review: The first in a series, this tongue-in-check nod to the story of King Arthur is funny and relatable for older elementary school children. With colorful, fun illustrations, it’s an entertaining and fast-paced tale that will have readers anxiously awaiting the next volume.
Educational connection: Not only does it reference the classic tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but it also deals with common stressors for children. Artie has trouble with bullies, and fitting in at a new school. For students in 4th and 5th grades, the thought of moving on to middle school might be a frightening prospect. In this book, even though Artie does face bullies and mean principals, he is still able to have fun.
Why it appeals to children: Children can relate to Artie, and will root for him to prevail over the bullies. The book is fast-paced, so older elementary school students won’t become bored by it, and the illustrations are eye-catching and integral to telling the story. Kids who are familiar with the King Arthur story may get a kick out of the references throughout the book.
Pilot & Huxley by Dan McGuiness
Why it is a read alike: This is another humorous graphic novel series about boys and friendship
BabyMouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
Why it’s a read alike: This graphic novel series also deals with school popularity issues.
Comic Squad: Recess! comics by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Gene Yang, Eric Wight, Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Ursula Vernon, Dan Santat, Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, Dav Pilkey ; edited by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Why it’s a read alike: This anthology of humorous comics created by well-known authors is strictly about school and recess.