Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Today's read... Quest Kids and the Dragon Pants of Gold by Mark Leiknes

While today's read may not be completely in a Halloween direction, it introduces a group of questers, who would definitely bring some pizzazz if they showed up at the door as trick-or-treaters. This is the first book in a new series, and it promises to be hilarious. Half graphic novel and half heavily illustrated tale, it looks like it'll be just the thing for middle graders...and even reluctant readers. I'm looking forward to a laugh or too. And dragons are always a welcome sight!

So, grab those costumes and some traveling spirit because it's time to go on an adventure!

by Mark Leiknes
Union Square Kids
Middle Grade Humor
336 pages
ages 8 to 12

Comics artist Mark Leiknes delivers a laugh-out-loud story set in a fantastic world of dragons, rock creatures, and golden loungewear.
The Quest Kids are ready for their first real quest. This time, they won’t oversleep, they won’t be put off by a little rain, and they won’t accidentally burn down the village that hired them. All they have to do is find the Golden-Fleeced Rage Beast, shave it, and make a really nice golden tracksuit to appease a furious dragon. Simple, right?
Meet the Quest Kids crew: Gil, a wizard (well, wizard in training . . . the beard isn’t his); Terra, a 700-year-old elf kid; Boulder, a rock troll who is more of a cook than a fighter; Ash, a flatulent pig-dog-maybe-lizard hybrid; and, Ned, the intrepid and overly optimistic leader with his own personal quest to find his missing parents. With humor, magic, mystery, and at least one acid swamp filled with skeletal alligators, Quest Kids and the Dragon Pants of Gold is a richly illustrated saga of fantasy friendship for readers from all kingdoms! 



Packed with dangerous moments, never-ending quests, and a group of friends, who might be in over their heads, these pages deliver tons of humor and even more illustrations to go with it.

Ned is the 11-year-old leader of his band of friends, the Quest Kids, who are ready to take on any quest granted to them, which considering they are kids, isn't exactly many. When they sneak in on a quest to steal the golden pants off of a dragon, things get much more complicated quickly. Realizing that the town, which indirectly hired them, lied about the situation, the Quest Kids soon find themselves on a new quest...and things just grow crazier and crazier from there.

There's so much to enjoy in this read, and I have no doubt middle graders (and even some older readers) will enjoy the ridiculous fun. The rag-tag-team of questers is a great band of misfits, which bond together in an odd friendship. And to say that they each hold their own edges and corners is an understatement, and they do get into each other's hair, at times, but all is good. They have heart. Tons of it, and no matter how difficult and absurd everything may get, this group sticks together. Which is great because it's the only reason they make it through.

Illustrations abound and make the tale radiate with all of its odd amazingness, as this book teeters right between illustrated novel and graphic novel. While Ned's narrative of their adventure (in which he tends to humorously get sidetracked constantly) drives the text, all the lovely details in the illustrations bring it to silly heights. The side remarks of the characters made me chuckle and laugh.

I can recommend this one to humor fans, adventure originals, and even reluctant readers, who love ridiculous quests, uncertain heroes, and more than just a battle with a fire breathing dragon or two. 

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