The Quest of Danger
Illustrations by Stacy Curtis
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2023
Stuart Gibbs’ newest in his series of young readers’ books, “Quest of Danger,” relates the adventures of Tim, a “knight-in-training,” and his friends: Belinda, who is disguised as boy because girls can’t be knights; Princess Grace of Merryland, who is opposed to waiting around for a prince to marry her; Ferkle, the village idiot who is a actually quite intelligent, and Rover, who’d been turned into a frog by a witch.
In this episode their mission is to retrieve the King of Merland’s scepter stolen by the evil Prince Ruprecht and his “nasty pirates” who were on their way to the city of Atlantis with their purloined treasures.
Tim and his friends were rescued by the people of Merland when Prince Ruprecht tied them to a rowboat and steered them toward a waterfall “at the edge of the earth.” They would have died if they hadn’t been rescued by seahorses and taken down into the ocean to Merland. Since their lives were saved, it seemed only fair they help recover the King’s scepter.
During their journey to Atlantis, they encounter numerous death-defying obstacles like the Kraken, the most “grotesque beast (that) ever lived.” In Atlantis they meet up with Prince Ruprecht and his pirates and discover his sinister plans.
Author Gibbs uses his books as an educational tool to enhance young readers’ vocabulary by providing entertaining comments. He writes,
“For example, a curmudgeonly teacher might be skeptical that this book is educational —until you reveal you have learned what ‘skeptical’ means from reading it.” He also emphasizes equality between boys and girls: The mermaid says she prefers to be called a “merperson.” And girls and can be knights.
This book is both amusing and educational, and is filled with charming and witty illustrations by Stacy Curtis. Even as an adult, I enjoyed it and even learned a couple new words.