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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old




*First Test: Book I of the Protector of the Small Quartet* by Tamora Pierce - young readers book review


 
Also by Tamora Pierce:

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness)

Page: Book II of the Protector of the Small Quartet

Squire: Book III of the Protector of the Small Quartet

Lady Knight: Book IV of the Protector of the Small Quartet

Terrier (Beka Cooper)

Trickster's Choice: Daughter of the Lioness, Book 1

Trickster's Queen: Daughter of the Lioness, Book 2




 

First Test: Book I of the Protector of the Small Quartet
by Tamora Pierce
Ages 9-12 240 pages Random House August 2004 Paperback    

Keladry of Mindelan is no regular tomboy. Training with the Yamani tribe since she was six years old, Kel wants nothing more than to become a knight serving the crown of King Jonathan. When her chance to become a page in his court is offered to her, Kel jumps at the chance to start trainingóeven if sheís going to be the only girl there.

Despite a decree allowing girls to train for knighthood, Kel is put on probation during her first year. The older pages are hell-bent on driving her home, taking their normal rounds of hazing up a notch. The boys urinate on her bedroom door, vandalize her room, and slick the hallway floor with oil so that she falls and ruins her clothes. Emboldened by the torture, Kel is determined to be the best page in her year. Right away her teachers notice her natural prowess with weapons and her agility during training. Bruised and battered, Kel continues to thriveóbut this only makes the other pages torture her more.

Kel isnít the only target for the older boys; many other first-years find themselves pinned in a corner with no escape in sight. In an act of chivalry (although some might think it pure stupidity), Kel picks fights with the older pages. Getting in a few good licks before being beaten to a bloody pulp, Kel makes her presence known. As support for Kel grows, her classmates join her side during the fights until finally the ringleader, Joren, and his crew give up.

As the year goes on, the training gets harder and the stakes higher. If Kel canít conquer her fear of heights and prove that she has as much mettle as the boys do, the summer will end with her going home. Willing to die rather than face that humiliation, Kel must summon the courage to complete her tasks. It isnít until a clan of spidrens invades a neighboring village that Kel is truly put to the test. At the end of the battle, Kel will know for certain whether she will go home a maiden or stay on to be a knight.

Tamora Pierce has created a rich fantasy world that mixes the majesty of Camelot and the magic of European folklore with a dash of Asian-inspired flair. Young women readers will identify with Kelís trials and tribulations of trying to fit in, understanding her place in the world and finding her inner strength. The one weakness in the book is trying to believe that Kel is only ten years old and not a teenageróone of the characters in the book even points out that she is the oldest ten-year-old he knows! With three more titles in the series, I canít wait to see where Kelís training takes her.
   
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Meghan Fryett/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  






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