Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sir Kevin of Devin

This past week I posted about The Barefoot Book of Knights and how I was on the lookout for reading materials involving knights and castles because I think that being a knight (and a gentleman!) is a good thing for a young lad to be thinking about. Being courageous, brave, manly, courteous and caring about people who share your "status" in life - OR are above or below it! All of these are admirable character qualities. Of course, my favorite literary character who displays such character traits would be High King Peter in the Narnia series and I intend to talk him up as my son grows older. I the meantime, we're looking for children's picture books which talk about medieval ages and knights themselves. We were given a copy of the old children's classic, Sir Kevin of Devon. (You can find it through private book sellers on Amazon. You can also find it at alibris at a bit more reasonable price.)

This book is told as an "epic poem for children." (Ok, not really but it feels that way.) It is one very long poem about a young boy (coincidentally named Kevin) who longs to be a knight. While other boys were playing ball, sailing paper boats and essentially goofing on, Kevin spent his time sitting by the king's door watching the knights. People laughed at Kevin and his dreams but he persisted in them.

But in Kevin's heart
Was a secret dreaming
Of armor and lances
And banners streaming;

Of galloping off
With a clink and a rattle
To slay a dragon
Or fight a battle.

One day it is announced that there is a monster stalking through the countryside. All of the people are running around scared to death because the knights have all ridden off and no one is around to defend either land or people. In true David and Goliath-like fashion, small young Kevin stands up and declares that he will fight the monster.

While straight
Toward the castle
Marched little Kevin,
The bravest lad
In the town of Devon,
A smallish boy,
Not quite eleven.

Kevin goes to meet with the king and declare his intention to defeat the monster which is wrecking havoc with the town's folks nerves. The king, noting Kevin's small size, laughs at him. However, he soon takes note the look of determination in Kevin's eyes and decides to equip the young boy for battle.

Once Kevin is dressed for battle, he rides out from the castle, ready to face the monster. Kevin leaves town on a great quest, discovers the monster and chases him down where at last he defeats the monster (illustrated to look like a dragon, of course!) within his home town. The people cheer and the king makes Kevin a knight.

And there stood Kevin,
With eyes all bright.
He had dreamed his dream.
He'd been ready to fight.
He had proved himself worthy of being a knight!

My heart swells when reading this "simple" poem and children's story because it embodies the best character traits I could ever want my son to have. Determination. Courage in the face of sure danger and a violent death. Perseverance in the race that is set before him. This is a noble story for a noble boy. I dream big dreams too, you know! And I am also certain of victory.

If you can manage to find a copy of Sir Kevin of Devon I'd heartily recommend you snatch it right up!

And for imagination's sake? The Knights & Dragon Toob. I'm not really big on action figures as a general rule (at least, I don't think I am) but I was trying to find some knights for my son to play with and I found these which are manufactured by Safari Ltd. They have a ton of realistic looking play figures. We have a lot of animal figures that my son has delighted in playing with. Although I'm not a big fan of little toys scattered about, I do think Safari Ltd produces some quality figurines of varying sorts that compliment both stories, science, history and love of learning in general. In other words, I rather like them also.


ibeeeg said...

Sir Kevin sounds great. Question: How are the illustrations? Are the intriguing to a little boy? My 5yos is all about pictures in a book.

The "action" figures look fabulous. I think they would work great in so many ways...for my boy it would be great in his activity bin of beans or even in a sand table.

Thanks for posting about this gem.

Stephanie said...

I love old books. :) And I will be on the lookout for the Toob of Knights. :) I have a nephew that needs them. :)

Anonymous said...

My name is Kenneth Maurice Rogers said to be son of Maurice V Rogers Jr. I was told when I was in school that I was Kevin. I did not believe them and since have found out that I am an orphan.

I don't know anything else-but the refused to deny that I was Kevin of Devin/Devon or just East of there. I am having Identity problems and my copy of the book was white and I wore it out.

Also I was supposed to have had a girl friend in Japan-which was decribed to me as an island. I checked all the island in the lake near were we fished & none were Japan. I am using Identity Guard to check out my identity.

Thanks for the review.

Kenneth Maurice Rogers
mailing addr: 2323 curtis Denver Colo 80202

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