The Knight of Little Import by Hannah Batsel

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Compared to the big and boisterous city of Biggerborough, Charlie's home town of Little Import is very staid and sedate, which is extremely embarrassing for someone who is supposed to slay monsters and keep people safe. But in reality, Charlie had never even seen a monster, let alone fought one, and she spent her days reading about them in her Big Book of Beastly Brutes and imagining them.

But what she didn't realise was that the slow demise wasn't being caused by the brashness of Biggerborough and the knights there fighting mile-high monsters and ogres, but by a host of little monsters that were hiding in plain sight in her own town. It starts with her helping the baker get rid of the Triple-Tier Hungerbeak who has been eating his pastries every night for a week and the word of her knowledge and bravery spreading...

This is one of the most original stories I've read and reviewed for a long time, one that will have readers of all ages engaged in Charlie's adventures. As each character presents Charlie with their problem, there is a description of the monster in a separate box and so astute readers will want to use the clues to see if they spot it before Charlie does.

A peek inside...

The ending is a delightful surprise demonstrating that solving small problems can lead to big changes, not only in Little Import but also in life itself, offering a subtle message that having the courage to confront small issues when they arise can prevent bigger problems. The old adage 'A stitch in time saves nine' comes to mind and older readers might want to probe the meaning of that.

Themes: Knights, Monsters, Courage.

Barbara Braxton