Sir Gadabout Goes to Knight School and other books for younger readers

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Martin Beardsley's Sir Gadabout Goes to Knight School (Orion £4.99) is about a very stupid knight who accidentally sets fire to the King of Gaul's beard and starts a war. The King sends him to Knight School, where he can be taught by Sir Lancelot. But Sir Lancelot is called away and Sir Gadabout is left in charge. Although the King of Gaul loses the final battle, Sir Gadabout is still the worst knight in the world. I really liked the part where a knight's spear hits a wall with such a clang that all his armour falls off, piece by piece.

Grk is a dog who is owned by a boy called Tim, and Grk and the Hot Dog Trail by Joshua Doder (Andersen Press £4.99) is his third adventure. Here, he is in New York on holiday when Tim follows the trail of a stolen golden statue of a dachshund. The thief is called Dr Wiener and he owns a hot dog factory. I have read all the Grk books and this one is the best so far, especially where Grk bites Dr Wiener's ankle. It would be good if there was a film of Grk.

Francesca Simon has written lots of Horrid Henry books and they are a TV series too. In Horrid Henry's Christmas Cracker (Orion £4.99) he is naughtier than ever. When the school stages a nativity play he is the inn-keeper, but he tells Joseph and Mary that there is room after all and ruins the play! My favourite bit is when he writes his mummy a rude poem instead of giving her a proper present.

Pirates and Knights are two Horrible History handbooks by Terry Deary (Scholastic, £5.99 each). There was a wicked pirate called Blackbeard who would sometimes kill his own crew, and another one called Ned Lowe who made a Spanish prisoner eat his friend's heart. If you were a knight, one of the rules was that you could burp at the table, but not in someone's face. I would have preferred to be a knight rather than a pirate - except that knights had to have baths.

Sophie and the Albino Camel by Stephen Davies (Andersen Press £4.99) is about a lonely girl who lives in north Africa and is warned by her dad never to mess with the Sahara. But when a boy called Gidaado, who is a storyteller, asks her to ride on his white camel, she goes off into the desert with only some water and a bunch of bananas. It is very dangerous and she gets caught in a sandstorm and is chased by a bandit, but in the end she gets rescued. I like the bit where the snake attacks and Gidaado throws a shirt over its head.

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