“Despite clever moments, this dinosaur version of the mythical King Arthur is not the stuff of legends.”
In a reimagined version of Camelot—not the Camelot of 5th and 6th century Great Britain, but a swampy, Jurassic period Camelot from 150 million years ago—three knights in training gather at the Festival of the Stone. Lancelot-o-saur and Guinevere-raptor are both skilled, capable squires, while their third comrade, Arthur-a-tops, is small, bumbling, and forgetful. Yet Arthur-a-tops “helps everyone,” a trait that Merlin-a-dactyl observes “is the mark of a true king.” When, after attempts by all other knight-o-saurs have failed, Arthur-a-tops accidentally pulls the gold-ringed Rex-calibur horn from the stone, everyone, including Arthur-a-tops himself, doubts that he is the true king. Not until Arthur-a-tops believes in himself and receives support and encouragement from his friends is he truly able to assume his position as king of Camelot—a position threatened by a foreboding meteor seen zipping toward Camelot in the final page. Though featuring some witty moments expected from O’Hara—when Arthur-a-tops doubts his position as king, Merlin-a-dactyl tells him he’ll have to either believe in himself or “build up some strong neck muscles” to carry around the magic stone—the story is unoriginal despite its novel setting, and the names are more annoying than clever, especially for read alouds. Joyner’s digital illustrations are simple and most notable for transporting dinosaurs to medieval England, complete with armor, hennins, and wimples. It’s a decent retelling of King Arthur for readers who love dinosaurs, but beyond that it doesn’t add much to the classic legend.
“Truly this contains some knights to remember.” ―Kirkus Reviews
A bumbling triceratops must prove himself worthy in New York Times bestselling author Mo O’Hara’s second hilarious picture book offering a prehistoric spin on the legend of King Arthur.
It’s the Festival of the Stone, and dinosaurs from across the land will try to pull the great horn Rex-calibur from the magical stone. The one who succeeds shall be crowned king or queen. Arthur-a-tops is probably the least likely to accomplish the task. And yet…could he be the one true king?
In this completely reimagined Camelot featuring dino-squires, the trusty Merlin-a-dactyl, and easy-to-trip-over dinosaur tails, O’Hara transforms this classic tale into an enjoyable, accessible, and truly funny treat for young readers.
Coupled perfectly with Andrew Joyner’s expressive and classic illustrations, this story will induce fits of giggles and lots of knowing nods from parents who want their little geniuses to have the classics down by first grade.
Even when Arthur-a-tops pulls the horn from the magical stone, he still doesn’t believe he’s the king. He still needs to believe in himself, and encouragement from his friends helps, too. Have you ever felt like you aren’t good, big, or smart enough to be special?
On the day he becomes king, Arthur-a-tops was spending his time helping others. What were some nice things he did for others? Why does Merlin-a-dactyl say this qualifies him to be king?
Mo O’Hara is an American writer, actor, storyteller, and author of the bestselling My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series. Mo got her start as an actress, traveling across the UK. During her travels, she was told that her stories were good enough to be written down—so she wrote them! Since then, she has hit the New York Times bestseller list with her middle grade series and has published three picture books: More People to Love Me, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: The Fintastic Fish-Sitter, and Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she now lives in London. You can visit her at www.moohara.co.uk.
Andrew Joyner is an Australian children’s book author and illustrator. He has worked as a receptionist, a fruit packer, and a tutor. Some of his many picture books include The Pink Hat; Too Many Elephants in This House, written by Ursula Dubosarsky; The Baby Swap, written by Jan Ormerod; and Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex, written by Mo O’Hara. Most recently, he has illustrated the new Dr. Seuss picture book, Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum. When he isn’t drawing dinosaurs, Andrew can be found reading or dreaming about the ancient ruins of Europe. You can visit him at www.andrewjoyner.com.au.
To my amazing nephews, Gabe, Fred, Hugo, David, and Mark—and my new niece or nephew who is on the way. . . .
For Uncle Bruce