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Knighthood for Beginners by Elys Dolan was sent to me by the Amazon Vine review programme in exchange for my honest review.


I have reviewed several picture books by Elys Dolan here at Making Them Readers. My particular favourite being Steven Seagull, although I have thoroughly enjoyed everything she has written so far. Knighthood for Beginners is her first chapter or transitional book for slightly older readers. I was interested to see if she could carry the wit and style of her picture books over into a longer format.

She can.

Dave is a terrible dragon. He’s let down everyone in his family after failing the test to be a dragon, and indeed everyone in his community. Kicked out to wander the world alone, he finds a book about knights, and is bowled over. Realising that being a knight is his destiny, he sets off to find a trusty steed, who just happens to be a German goat called Albrecht.

Dave and Albrecht travel far and wide, but mostly to the nearest town to become chivalrous knights of old and in doing so, turn tradition on its head in the most delightful way.

This is a brilliantly crazy adventure, beautifully illustrated by Dolan with her usual charm and humour. I particularly like the rats on sticks in almost every picture. My favourite character is Albrecht, who is a devil may care adventurer with some classic lines, many of which are in German (glossary is provided). I also loved the Bearded Lady who, like Dave, manages to transcend her destiny and better herself.

There is a real sense of anarchy in this clever and funny book. It would work perfectly for newly independent readers and is a cracking read for both boys and girls.

And me.