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The Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon…

The Knights of the Kitchen Table (1991)

by Jon Scieszka

Other authors: Adam McCauley (Illustrator), Lane Smith (Illustrator)

Series: Time Warp Trio (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
In the first book in the Time Warp Trio series, the reader is introduced to its three main characters - Joe, Fred, and Sam - and learns how they achieve the power of being able to travel to different times. The story opens with Joe's birthday, with the boys reviewing Joe's birthday haul of presents. Sam points out that Joe missed one, and Joe's mom mentions it is from his Uncle Joe. Since Uncle Joe, also known as Joe the Magnificent, is a magician, all three boys are excited to open the package. Fred is disappointed when it's just a book, but Joe is intrigued by its midnight blue color with silver and swirly designs. Before Joe has a chance to fully examine it, though, Fred opens it and expresses a wish to see the black knight in the picture in person. His words are followed by a swirling mist which covers the room, and when it clears, the three boys discover they really can see the knight up close and personal!

While they figure out what happened, they also have to disarm the Black Knight, who is intent on killing them. With some teamwork and quick thinking, the boys use the knight's abilities against him to knock him out, and deduce that the book Joe's uncle gave him was indeed magic and transported them into the past. They are able to determine when they are after some knights of the round table trot up and congratulate them for defeating the evil knave Black Knight. They invite the three boys, who must be wizards, to return with them to the court, where they meet King Arthur. Their troubles are far from over; Merlin mistrusts them, and seems jealous about their designation as wizards, and to prove themselves, the boys agree to defeat the rampaging ogre and flaming dragon that are both attacking King Arthur's court at the same time.

The trio use the same common sense sarcasm and wit that they applied to the Black Knight to route dragon and ogre. Even though they manage to get Merlin off their backs, they still are stuck in Arthurian England, with no way home. Luckily, Merlin eventually reveals that he found their sorcerous book and he returns it (likely to get them out of his hair). The boys magically return to Joe's kitchen at the exact moment that they left, in another swirling fog of mist.

Since this is a beginning chapter book, the story is fast-paced and short, with small chapters and plenty of cliffhanger moments. The three characters are feisty and funny boys, and the story is full of action and gross gags, all of which appeals to young readers and keeps their attention engaged. My daughters had a great time reading this book. The story also includes some jokes meant for the grown up readers, like certain references to Lancelot and Guinevere. Sciezka has a snarky and silly voice that is on full display in this book, and makes for a great read aloud. The narrative is accompanied with wonderful illustrations that perfectly capture the style and tone of the book. My family enjoyed the introduction book to this series, and plan on reading further in the series. ( )
  nmhale | Jul 3, 2016 |
Adventure, comedy, and magic blend together as the members of the Time Warp Trio--Joe, Sam, and Fred--look through a mysterious book and find themselves in King Arthur's time being pursued by the evil Black Knight. Reprint. AB. SLJ.
  wichitafriendsschool | Mar 25, 2016 |
Recommended by Catherine D.

Three friends at a birthday party travel back in time thanks to a magician uncle's gift of a book. Joe, Fred, and Sam find themselves fighting the Black Knight and joining King Arthur's court before figuring out how to get themselves back to the present.

Reminded me a bit of Edward Eager's Half Magic and Seven-Day Magic. ( )
  JennyArch | Jan 28, 2016 |
This was an excellent modern fantasy. The story began with the Fred's birthday party. Fred and his friends opened up a mysterious present from Fred's magician of an uncle. The present transported them into the medieval times. Fred and his gang of friends become accosted by a terrible knight. Fred and his friends defeat the knight. The knights of the round table exalt the trio and bring them to King Arthur. The author brings in Smaug from the Lord of the Rings and a giant to threaten the kingdom. Fred uses his wit to trick the giant to attack Smaug. I would use this book right after lunch for approximately three days to introduce my students to learning about the medieval times in the British Isles. ( )
  magen.rauscher | Apr 3, 2015 |
I love this kind of stuff - at all levels, Reminds me of James Patterson's Treasure Hunters and that fun film about Mr. Peabody and Sherman's time machine.
  hbcoates | Dec 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Roger Sutton (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 1991 (Vol. 44, No. 11))
The "Time Warp Trio" consists of three friends, one of whom has received a wish-granting magic book as a birthday present from an uncle. The book sends them back in time to Camelot (Knights) and a desert island (Roger). The device is tired, the puns are weak, and the tone is too knowing. The jokes are dumb, mostly based upon the boys' anachronistic attitudes and slang: "Your mother was a sardine can," says Fred to the armored Black Knight. There are lots of sound effects, lots of explosions, and lots of disgusting emissions ("Ten brave knights fell like bowling pins, victims of gas warfare"); while it all adds up to standard fourth-grade chucklebait, the three boys are indistinguishable and the plots predictable. Smith's pen sketches have more personality than the text, but their new-wave weirdness only underlines the staleness of the stories. Scieszka's picture-book texts have proven him capable of tight, funny prose (see The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, reviewed in the 9/89 issue); books for newly independent readers deserve no less. Review Code: M -- Marginal book that is so slight in content or has so many weaknesses in style or format that it should be given careful consideration before purchase. Curricular Use: Reading, reluctant. (The Time Warp Trio) (c) Copyright 1991, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1991, Viking, 55p, $10.95. Grades 3-5.

added by kthomp25 | editThe Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Roger Sutton
Sylvia S. Marantz (The Five Owls, September/October 1991 (Vol. 6, No. 1))
The comedy team of Scieszka and Smith, fresh from their triumphant spoof of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf (Viking, 1989) have done it again. This time, they have moved from picture book format to chapter books, but they have kept the books thin enough to be non-intimidating. They've also brought both their wonderful sense of fun and their understanding of what kids like to read to this new series called the Time Warp Trio. Just two adventures of Joe, Fred, and Sam, the intrepid trio, are available so far, but it's a good bet that there will be more, by popular demand. Scieszka writes simply and clearly, in accessible vernacular, with short chapters to encourage hesitant readers. Don't expect depth of character or development. Don't search for hidden meanings. These adventures are just for fun. Smith's art for the covers sets the tone with dark, spooky background, hand-calligraphed titles on the picture of the all important Book in the book, and exaggerated faces caricatured for laughs. His other illustrations inside are limited to black and white every few pages, but he manages to add to the story with them nonetheless. They are done in a very intense black, with the modelling that Smith always uses to give his figures three dimensions. They fit into the pages but are bursting with action, using cartoon-like conventions, but full of ther own grotesque humor and comic horror. Knights of the Kitchen Table begins right in the middle of an adventure, sucking the reader in. A huge knight in black armor confronts the three buddies in a clearing. Later, we find out how they got there. Joe's birthday present of a mysterious book from Uncle Joe the Magician turns out, when opened, to start the magic. The Black Knight is vanquished, in a scene worthy of Tom and Jerry, and the trio is off to Camelot with Lancelot to meet the rest of the Round Table. Here the boys manage to deal with Bleob the Giant, who is so disgusting only kids could enjoy him, and Smaug, a truly terrible dragon. But they seem stuck in the Middle Ages until Merlin bails them out. Of course Mark Twain did a much more complex version of this in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and more recently Gery Greer and Bob Rudick made a hit with a similar funny but more intricately plotted Max and Me and the Time Machine (Harcourt, Brace, 1983), but Scieszka's brief romp is successful just for what it is. I hope it is not sexist to say that boys generally read less than girls, partly because they seem to find fewer books available that grab their interest. We welcome Scieszka's tales of adventure and humor, with their strong appeal to boys. Incidentally, I think girls will enjoy them as well. 1991, Viking, $10.95. Ages 7 to 11.

added by kthomp25 | editThe Five Owls, Sylvia S. Marantz

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scieszka, Jonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCauley, AdamIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, LaneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Halt, vile knaves."
We were about to be killed more than a thousand years before we were even born.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Black Knight thundered toward us, his lance pointed directly at us. "Wait, I've got it," said Fred. And he grabbed our arms and pulled us together. "You guys stay close. On the count of three, Joe, you and Sam jump to the left. I'll jump to the right. One..." The Black Knight was so close I could see the straps on his armor. "Two..." I could see the buckles on the straps. "Three!" We jumped. The Black Knight clanked by like a runaway train. "Strike one," said Sam.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142400432, Paperback)

Everyone’s favorite time-travelers are changing their styles!  The Time Warp Trio series now features a brand-new, eye-catching design, sure to appeal to longtime fans, and those new to Jon Scieszka’s wacky brand of humor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:21 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

When Joe, Fred, and Sam are sent back in time by a magic book, they find themselves face-to-face with giants, dragons, wizards, and the Knights of the Round Table.

» see all 4 descriptions

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