Prince Martin Wins His Sword, Book 1 of the Prince Martin Epic Book Review
This book reminded me of the classic hero’s journey and knight adventure stories I read in my youth. But now, thanks to this new Prince Martin series by Brandon Hale, kids don't have to wait until they’re twelve or more to dig into a knightly adventure. In fact, in my opinion, it's one of the best adventure books for younger kids. Now, don’t compare it to a knightly epic 'tee for tee'...it is, after all, a children’s book. But for a children’s book, it’s quite the fun little journey.
As the first book in the Prince Martin series, Martin must win his sword by living with bravery, loyalty and a true heart. True to the knightly quest tradition, Prince Martin must journey to find out what this really means. Along the way, he not only discovers what it means to be brave, loyal and true of heart, but he also discovers his inner strengths and finds a true friend. I mean, what great values for kids to read about!
The illustrations, completed by artist Jason Zimdars, are bright and grab a child’s attention. The text is written as rhyme, but it's the sing-song tone that keeps the story fun. There is everything you'd expect from a real Aurthurian tale: adventure, suspense, a journey, conflict, chivalry, a lesson learned about life and an epic battle to save an innocent (fawn) from the evil villains (trio of hogs) with the unexpected help of a fellow knight, Sir Ray (the selfless, brave dog).
Hale does a great job helping the reader visualize the adventure. From the ancient oaks with golden leaves in the forest to the urgency in the doe's voice as she pleads for Prince Martin's help, the reader is transferred into the suspenseful battle and accompanies Prince Martin on the arduous journey home with an injured Sir Ray, feeling the anxious King’s worry as he awaits his son's return.
As a short chapter book written for perhaps the average 7 or 8 year old to read on his or her own, I read it aloud to my four year old granddaughter in two nightly sessions of about 15 minutes each, which says something as her attention span for stories at four years of age doesn’t usually last longer than about ten minutes.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading it aloud to her, and I can confidently say, she enjoyed it as well. Granted, she'd already been indoctrinated into the fantasy world of castles, knights, dragons and fairies in our imaginative family (we strongly believe in the power of play and imagination), so beginning the tale with a description of Prince Martin's dragon dream, the castle and the armory full of gauntlets and shields was an automatic hook for her
She enjoyed listening to me read each page, looking at the pictures in depth and asking questions. This not only involved her in the story, but I also felt all the discussion, illustration analysis and questions made her brain neurons spin and grow a little faster.
It was a fun book to read. A seven or eight year older (or an eight year old at heart) could easily read this entire book in perhaps 20-30 minutes tops, perfect for a nice reading break before bed.
This book was an uplifting and exciting book to read to my granddaughter and I have to admit that after I kissed her goodnight, I quickly poured through the rest of this charming story to see what happened to the prince and his dog. I just couldn’t wait until the next night to find out!
My granddaughter is excited to read the second book in the series, Prince Martin and the Thieves. And...I'm a bit excited too. This book is definitely my newest recommendation for Best Adventure books for Kids right now. Why don't you go ahead and get a copy. Your two year old won't mind if you get a few years head start. It's totally worth the read.
Hooray for Prince Martin! And thank you Brandon Hale for sharing Prince Martin with us. Click on the book cover below to get your own copy!
Other items that work well with this book include: