by Howard Whitehouse

Kids Can Press, $17.95, 184 pages

It can be a challenge to find books that younger boys will enjoy.  Fortunately, author Howard Whitehouse has written a doozy. Bogbrush the Barbarian features a young warrior who is very strong.  Even his chain-mail underwear is strong.  He is leaving on a quest to find a city where an axe lays in stone.  If Bogbrush can pull the axe from the stone, he will become the true King.

One thing stands in his way.  Although Bogbrush is “mighty-thew’d” (in Barbarian this means that he has big muscles), he is not as smart as other warriors.  Much of the comedy in the book comes from situations Bogbrush finds himself in because of misunderstandings.  Luckily Bogbrush meets people who help him on his quest.  He’ll run across a damsel, a thief, a gerbil with a full bladder, ape-men, and a magician.  With their help and Bogbrush’s good intension, he may make it to the city after all.

Throughout the chapters, boxes of information provide questions to aide in comprehension, definitions of words, and meanings of proverbs.  While these can get silly, kids will enjoy the trivia aspect they provide and parents will appreciate the educational component.  Grab your chain-mail underwear and join Bogbrush on his epic adventure!

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin