We have got a huge book crush on Owen Davey. I feel it’s only fair to start our review with that statement, so that you are prepared for the overflowing of praise that’s about to commence. Ever since we fell in love with the wordless wonder that is ‘Foxly’s Feast‘ we’ve been on the lookout for more by this super-talented chap. Since the boys are still gung-ho about all things knightly, this book couldn’t have come at a better time.
The story follows a young boy getting ready for bed, who begins to imagine what a knight’s night-time routine might be like. This spread shows the transition from normal to knightly with elegance and ease:
The text is sparse and without the accompanying pictures could be taken as the simple narrative of a child’s evening rituals. However, as is the case with some of the best examples in the picture book genre, the illustrations add SO much and show us a rather different (and infinitely more exciting!) version of events. For example, below is one of C and H’s favourite bits of the book – the knight’s bath-time. Given that they are currently extremely keen on all things oceanic (we’re in danger of morphing into Octonauts if we’re not careful) these pages were such a treat for them to explore and discuss and they were very jealous that their own baths were nowhere near as fun (personally I think my attempts to inject humour into hair washing are admirable, but unfortunately the boys don’t agree…).
The tidying up process would no doubt be infinitely easier if we each had our very own lockable treasure chests in which to store our swords, crowns and shields (or in my case, books, more books and some biscuits). C and H do actually have a fake sword each, which they gleefully pull out as often as possible along with the reminder that – as we learned at Warwick Castle – REAL sword fighters don’t aim for their opponent’s sword as the films might suggest, but instead aim for the opponent’s body. As you can imagine, I am overjoyed that they’ve remembered this snippet of information over and above all the other facts that we shared and it has in NO WAY caused me ANY problems when it comes to mediating the many scuffles with these plastic weapons. No-sir-eeeee.
Anyway, therein lies one of the main attractions of this book. The minimal text and richly detailed pictures combine to facilitate endless discussions. The boys love linking the words to their own bedtime experiences, but then expanding upon them according to wherever their imagination takes them – the beauty of this book how expertly it draws the reader into this vividly exciting adventure.
Adults and children alike will appreciate that Davey’s work is sublimely stylish and his choice of muted colours make his work distinctive and memorable. Even though the actual colours are different from the greens and oranges used in ‘Foxly’s Feast’, C immediately linked that book with ‘Knight Night’ and asked if it was by the same person. A subtle advantage of the colour choices in ‘Knight Night’ is that they are kind on tired eyes, so along with its subject matter that makes this pretty much the perfect bedtime book.
We can’t wait to see Davey’s ‘Laika’ book, which is out this autumn – check out these images from his website!
Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publishers. I was not asked to write this post, nor was I given any money for doing so, and the review represents my own honest opinion.