by Sallie Lowenstein
Kyle loves his new house. In his imagination, it’s a castle, with turrets and secret passageways and wizards. He’s not so sure about his new neighbor, though; Madeline seems like trouble. When she agrees to play knights with him, she clearly has a different game in mind than he does. In Kyle’s game, the knight goes hunting dragons, but in Madeline’s game, the princess gets to kiss the knight. So Kyle uses his imagination to deal with his pesky neighbor. But does Madeline’s game have a different ending?
Sir Kyle and Lady Madeline is a delightful picture book that does a wonderful job of conveying the vivid imagination of children at play. The illustrations, done in colored pencil and opaque ink on rough paper, are beautiful, and go hand in hand with the text to convey the full story. As the dragon fades in and out of view, sometimes appearing to be almost part of the natural environment, and sometimes dominating the illustration, the reader gets a sense of the ebb and flow of imaginative play. One final illustration after the end of the text clues the reader that Kyle’s ending isn’t the only possible one.