Tumbleweed, Dick King-Smith

Tumbleweed, Dick King-SmithTumbleweed by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by Harry Horse

First Published: 1987
Pages: 107 (Paperback)
Form: Novel
Rating: 4/54/54/54/54/5

Wanted – damsel in distress

Sir Tumbleweed is a nervous and accident-prone knight. Then he meets an evil-looking witch who is surprisingly kind to him. Before he knows what’s happening, he has a lion and a unicorn as friends and has floored Sir Basil the Beastly in a jousting match. Now all he has to do is find a beautiful damsel to rescue from a smallish, not too fierce dragon.

A hilarious tale of unexpected surprises in Merrie England from the pen of master-storyteller, Dick King-Smith

Another fun little novel from my childhood by Dick King-Smith. A bit of a departure from his normal ‘farmyard fantasy’ (Dick King-Smith is a prolific author of books featuring talking pigs, mice, and various other animals), Tumbleweed is a fantasy-comedy featuring a very clumsy, nervous, knight who meets a friendly witch, befriends a lion and a unicorn, and goes off in search of damsel to rescue from a dragon.

As a kid I loved stories of knights and castles, so when, aged about 8 or 9, I picked this up for weekly ‘read aloud’ sessions with one of my primary school’s teaching assistants, I absolutely adored it – despite it being a very short and easy read. So my four stars rather than three is completely driven by nostalgia. It’s probably one of those children’s books that’s best read when you either are a child or have children to read it to/with. But it is fun – and I did love Jones, the Welsh Dragon – I hadn’t picked up originally that he used actual Welsh speaking patterns so that got a little laugh out of me, I could definitely hear the accent when I read it. It also has some fun jokes and really cute black and white illustrations that I don’t remember from reading as a child, but really loved this time around.

If you’re reading with kids and like to discuss themes and messages with them then it’s got a couple of those too; ‘what is courage?’/’can you be brave and afraid?’, as well as judging people on appearances, what makes a good friend, and the morality of taking credit for other people’s actions.

Not as totally awesome as I remember, but still a cute and funny story.

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