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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Squire With Fire by Joseph Cassis, Mac is intrigued by the unusual gold ring on his grandfather's finger and wants to know where it originated from. His grandfather begins to tell him that the ring has been handed down through the generations for 600 years. In medieval times, Mac's ancestors were squires who helped the knights in their various quests. To acquire the ring, the squires had to first show they were worthy of it. The qualities they had to learn included kindness to all, consideration of others, being honorable and brave. The grandfather relates the tale of a time in history when Sir Galahad, with the aid of his squires, was sent on a dangerous mission by the Queen of Rothesay Castle to save their village from a fierce dragon. As they find the dragon, one of the squires not only proves that they have earned the right to be called a knight, but that sometimes things are not all that they seem.
I love a children's book that has a great moral tale threaded through the plot. This wonderful story is concerned with good versus evil but with a brilliant twist at the end. There is such a great opportunity for children to learn about historical times, but also many moral lessons too. Mac and his grandfather discuss the importance of equality for everyone in society, not to judge someone's outer behavior at face value, but to consider there may be underlying reasons for it, such as fear, pain or sadness. The illustrations are excellent too with further opportunity to discuss the message. The story also encourages children to believe in their abilities and to step out of their comfort zone to achieve their goals. I loved the references to historical figures too, such as Joan of Arc and Sir Galahad. This a great adventure story for every child and I would love to see it in a school library where children could learn the importance of tolerance. I think it would certainly help the problem of bullying of children who are deemed 'different'.