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A Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson
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A Perfect Gentle Knight (2007)

by Kit Pearson

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Now here is a work of Young Adult fiction that resonates with children and adults alike. Sometimes great truths and deep ideas can be found in YA books, and this newest offering by Kit Pearson is a perfect example. Pearson was a favourite of mine when I was about 8-11, and so when I saw her latest book in the library, I knew I had to read it.

A Perfect Gentle Knight is the story of the Bell children - Sebastian, Roz, Corrie, Harry, Orly, and Juliet. Their father is a professor who specializes in Shakespeare (all six children are named after a Shakespeare character), and their mother died a few years ago. To cope with their mother's death, the children start a complex game playing Knights of the Round Table. This game brings the children together, and gives them a form of security in their scary world. Lately, however, Roz has felt too old for this game; Sebastian, on the other hand, is so depressed that he increasingly loses himself in the character of Lancelot. Our heroine, Corrie (short for Cordelia), is eleven, and trying to desperately hold her family together, while attempting to make friends and live a normal life. As the year goes on, Sebastian falls deeper and deeper into trouble - trouble that Corrie does not know how to fix.

This book was simply wonderful to read; it merged my childhood love of Pearson's characters and story-telling with my more recent love of Arthurian Legend. Corrie is a complex child whose thoughts are adult enough to be interesting, but not too adult that she is an unbelievable eleven-year-old. The dynamics between the six children was very special - the Bell's have extraordinary sibling relationships.

Pearson generally deals with difficult themes in her writing. A Perfect Gentle Knight contains many different ways people cope with grief, and never did I feel as though the author was simplifying things. This really is one of those books that is perfect for any age - children will sympathize with the children's situation, and teens and adults will be able to read more into the story. It has been a long time since a children's novel has had such an impact on me - in fact, this book may have affected me more than any other "adult" novel I have read this year. ( )
5 vote Cait86 | Apr 3, 2009 |
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It is 1957 and the six children in the Bell family are struggling to cope after their mother's death. Because their father has retreated into his books and his teaching, the older children try to run the family. The eldest, Sebastian, has begun the game of Knights of the Round Table, which at first they all find a comforting escape. But the safety of the game is threatened when Roz, the second eldest, begins to be more interested in junior high school than pretending.… (more)

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