Great Illustrated Books

The Knights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio series)

By Jon Scieszka, Illustrated by Lane Smith

Viking Juvenile, 1991
Pages : 64
Suggested Ages: 7-10
ISBN: 9780670836222

Want your children to find the fun in history? Have them travel back in time with the "Time Warp Trio" series. Sure, it's been a hit on the Discovery Kids Channel on TV, but the wacky books came first, and they're still a riot. In this very first book of the series, best friends Joe, Fred, and Sam find themselves being threatened by the Black Knight after a magic book Joe receives at his birthday party sends them back to King Arthur's time, complete with a smelly giant and a fire-breathing dragon. OK, this is not exactly factual, but it sure is merry.

For readers who want to know more about King Arthur and his knights, there are several excellent books listed below. (You will most likely not find them in your bookstore—books of folklore for children never go out of style, but, sadly, tend to go out of print faster than almost anything—but your school and/or public library may have copies, thank goodness.) The tongue-in-cheek silliness of the Time Warp Trio will thrill reluctant readers, with pun-filled sequels like The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy (1992), The Not-So-Jolly Roger (1991), and Your Mother Was a Neanderthal (1993). The website,, is pretty terrific, with games, video clips, and supporting bibliographies of books and websites on the time periods and places visited in the two dozen books and TV shows.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Benton, Jim. The Fran That Time Forgot. Simon & Schuster, 2005. (And others in the Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist series.)

Cole, Joanna. Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt. Illus. by Bruce Degen. Scholastic, 2001.

Cole, Joanna. Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Imperial China. Illus. by Bruce Degen. Scholastic, 2005.

Greer, Gery, and Bob Ruddick. Max and Me and the Time Machine. Harcourt, 1983.

Gutman, Dan. Honus & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure. Avon, 1997.

Gutman, Dan. Qwerty Stevens Back in Time: The Edison Mystery. Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Gutman, Dan. Qwerty Stevens, Stuck in Time with Benjamin Franklin. Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Hastings, Selena. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Lothrop, 1981.

Hodges, Margaret. Merlin and the Making of the King. Holiday House, 2004.

Peck, Richard. The Great Interactive Dream Machine. Dial, 1996.

Sabuda, Robert. Arthur and the Sword. Atheneum, 1995.

San Souci, Robert D. Young Arthur. Doubleday, 1997.

Scieszka, Jon. The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy. Viking, 1992.

Scieszka, Jon. The Not-So-Jolly Roger. Viking, 1991.

Scieszka, Jon. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Viking, 1992.

Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Viking, 1989.

Scieszka, Jon. Your Mother Was a Neanderthal. Viking, 1993. . (And others in the Time Warp Trio series.)

Shannon, Mark. Gawain and the Green Knight. Putnam, 1994.

Talbott, Hudson. King Arthur and the Round Table. Morrow, 1995.

Winthrop, Elizabeth. The Castle in the Attic. Holiday House, 1985.

Critics have said

FShort, easy-to-read sentences and lots of zany dialogue perfectly suit the breathless pace.
School Library Journal
Smith's drawings deftly reflect the blend of everyday kid with zany, mock-gruesome adventure.