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Ages 9+ | Max and the Midknights (Crown Books)

Max and the Midknights
Published by: Crown Books
Written and Illustrated by: Lincoln Pierce
ISBN: 9781101931080
Ages: 9+

Review

Max does not want to be a troubadour. Nope. Not at all. 

Instead, Max is stuck in an apprentice role to his fun-loving and quirky Uncle Budrick, the true troubadour of the family.  He may not be the best troubadour but at least Uncle Budrick tries.

One day, however, when the familial duo travel toward the Kingdom of Byjovia (where Uncle Budrick grew up) they are suddenly robbed by a no-good scoundrel.  But don’t worry, Max takes care of that scoundrel and even steals his dagger, an impressive feat for a young kid who doesn’t want to be a troubadour at all.  Max wants to be what every little boy dreams of being, an adventurous knight. 

Max’s new dagger is not what it seems either. It’s got something written on it, something that looks a lot like a code.  Did Max come across this dagger by chance?  Or is there some truth to the old cliché statement: “Whatever happens was meant to be.”

Without giving away any spoilers, which is making my fingers tingle with excitement as I type, I recommend every teacher and librarian get a copy of Max and the Midnights right away.

Note: You’ll probably want to order more than one copy. No spoilers.

Elements of Story

Plot: Max is stuck in an apprentice role to Uncle Budrick.  There’s only one problem with that: Max doesn’t want to be a troubadour like Uncle Budrick.  Max wants to be a knight.  Will Max ever be able to reach the goal of knighthood as an apprentice to his eccentric, troubadour uncle?

Major Characters: Sir Budrick, Max, Tom Foolery, robber, King Conrad the Kind, King Gastley, Sir Gadabout, Kevyn, Royal Guards, Nolan, Millie, Simon, Mumblin the Magician, Alice, the Midnights, Gargoyles, Big and Ugly, goose, the dead, Fendra, giant rats, Bruce the Dragon, Dusty

Major Settings: on the road, Kingdom of Byjovia, the forrest, Market Square, Castle, Kevyn’s house, stable, Shady Acres Home for Aged Sorcerers, castle, moat, dungeon, Trail of the Dead, the brook, Byjovia Orphanage, Fendra’s house, tunnel, mountain, marble tower

Themes: Identity and Gender, the Middle Ages, Relationships, Family, Bravery, Bullying, Teamwork

Lesson Plan Recommendation Using the Common Core Standards (CCS) for Young Adults

Common Core Standard(s)

Craft and Structure
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

Directions for Lesson Plan

With students, review the vocabulary words below.

Ask students to read Max and the Midknights and look for each vocabulary word.  When they find each vocabulary word students need to write down the following information: page number, context clues for how it is used in the story (what does it mean?), and an accompanying image.

Max and the Midknights Vocabulary Context Clue Hunt

 1.      Troubadour

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 2.      Lute

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 3.      Scallywag

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  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 4.      Calamitous

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  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 5.      Vagrancy

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 6.      Ostler

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 7.      Outfoxed

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  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 8.      Summoning

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  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

9.      Petrified

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  • Image:

 10.  Ginormous

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 11.  Incapacitated

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  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 12.  Solo

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 13.  Prophecies

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 14.  Convincing

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 15.  Hesitating

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

16.  Fraud

  • Page #:
  • Context Clues / Meaning:
  • Image:

 

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Dr. Katie Monnin is the Director of Education at Pop Culture Classroom in Denver, Colorado.  She has written dozens of articles, curricula, reviews, lesson plans, and 8 books about teaching graphic novels, animation, video games, social media and other pop culture topics in the classroom.