13 April 2009

Roland Wright: At the Joust

by Tony Davis

Random House. Junior, Australian. Paperback rrp $12.95

At the Joust is the third book in the Roland Wright series. I’ll admit my bias up front. I live with a young Roland Wright fan – and we love his books.

Roland Wright is a well crafted series with heroes, villains, Nudge the mouse, a lot of humour and the best sort of history of all – battles, swords, armour and castles. At the Joust is no exception. Three chapters in and my son and I were ready to try a few longsword moves. It’s great fun acting out a scene from Roland Wright.

The exploration of friendship and rivalry provides positive values and role models. The castle is not so different to the playground. With the help of his friends and his own self-belief, Roland triumphs over the bully, and senior page, Hector. Roland also learns that jousting is not all heroism and fun when his friend, the brave Sir Lucas, is seriously injured.

While this book is a complete read in itself, to start with the third book would deprive a younger reader of the full enjoyment of Roland’s adventures. And as a parent, I am always conscious of the role a good series can play in keeping an emerging reading interest alive.

Gregory Roger’s black and white cartoon style drawings add to the humour and are great visuals (especially when doing an after reading re-enactment!). The pictures of Nudge are favourites in my house.

Girls will enjoy this book but boys will love it. Parents who read it aloud to their kids will have heaps of fun. I know!

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