Title: The Battle: Starting School Can be Scary Sometimes!
Author: Ashling Kwok
Illustrator: Cara King
Publisher: EK Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Digital copy reviewed of hardback
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Description: Edward is anxious to start knight-school. He puts on his armour, prepared for battle. It’s sure to be terrifying with all those ogres and dragons about. But at school, Edward is befriended by an ogre who offers him some of her lunch. Edward soon realizes that maybe things aren’t as bad as they first seemed. In fact, his armour was holding him back. As he learns to let his guard down, magic and fun await and Edward realizes the dragons and ogres he feared are actually just like him.

*Free digital copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a lovely and very clever story dealing with the worries children might have when they begin school. Edward is starting his first day at Knight School, so he puts on his armour and tries to sit at the back of the class where he hopes he won’t be noticed by the other creatures there. But while Edward hopes to stay as invisible as possible, the ogres and the dragons do notice him, and he has to face them during break time.

The Battle book page image one
Digital image of first page in book

The story is a very clever one with a brilliant twist at the end. Edward is like so many children, afraid of going to school on their first day, the other creatures at the school being a big reason for Edward’s worried behaviour. However as Edward spends more time at the school and ends up being invited to play with the ogres and dragons, he soon realises that the school is more fun than he thinks and that everything isn’t as scary or bad as he first thought.

The way this book depicts the Knight School is very good and with the illustrations it just is really clever. Edward’s very afraid of the ogres and the dragons. Seeing these creatures as something so scary is something that some kids can and will relate to. Seeing other children in the classroom or outide during break time, and having to interact with them can cause a lot of anxiety in some kids, especially if they are very nervous or shy when they first go to school. It can be difficult for children who are this way to open up to making friends, but the clever story in this book shows how these ‘scary’ creatures really aren’t so scary after all, and there’s a brilliant twist at the end that shows how normal the school is and how Edward, and the children reading the book, don’t have to be afraid of anything.

The illustrations are so lovely and fun and very engaging. I love the way all the creatures in the Knight School are drawn. Each one is different and although they are all dragons or ogres, each one also doesn’t really look very scary and in fact they all look quite friendly despite Edward’s fear of them. This works so well with the story and little twist at the end. I also love how fun all the images are, the expression of worry on Edward’s face is so clearly seen and the fun way each creature in Knight School is drawn just reminds you of how so many children draw such creatures and I think kids will love spotting all the different creatures on each page.

The Battle book page image two
Digital image of double page in book

The story is just perfect for children who are starting at school for the first time and are afraid of what will happen or who they will meet. It’s a great and fun story to read on its own for any children, but it’s also a good book to discuss any fears that children might have about starting school. I just love the twist at the end, and the clever story around Edward’s armour being a barrier to getting to know the others. The illustrations are so engaging the whole story is such a lovely one to read, I’m sure many adults and children will enjoy this book.

What do you think of this book?  Did you or your children have a fear of starting school?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂