Friday, April 2, 2021

Knight of the Cape (Definitely Dominguita #1) by Terry Catasús Jennings, illustrated by Fatima Anaya

Knight of the Cape (Definitely Dominguita #1)
by Terry Catasús Jennings, illustrated by Fatima Anaya
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 2021, 144 pages

There's a new chapter book series in town and it's all about a girl with a great big imagination. Cuban American Dominguita Melendez loves to read even more than playing with the other kids in her class during recess. Lately, she's been reading Don Quijote, a book her grandmother loves, to feel closer to her abuela who has recently moved to Florida. But when the class bully, Ernie Bublassi, demands to know why she's reading it, she tells him she's studying to become a knight. Throwing the book into the playground dirt, he tells her girls can't be knights, making Dominguita all that much more determined to do exactly that and go questing for adventure...and to help people in distress.

Dominguita turns to her older brother Rafi for help. Maybe he could write a book about her knightly deeds to send to their abuela? Rafi agrees after finding out that one of the Bublassi bullies is behind Dominguita's idea - he has had run-ins of his own with Ernie's older brothers. The Bublassi's are the biggest bullies in otherwise quiet and friendly Mundytown.

Before long, Dominguita has acquired a lance, a helmet, some armor, and a cape and is transformed into Dom Capote. She also adds a squire named Pancho Sanchez and a trusty steed/stray dog named Rocinante or Roco for short, but will they find adventure on their quests besides rescuing stray bunnies from cats? Yes, indeed. Leave it to the Bublassi bullies to help Dom and Pancho find a new addition to their quests - Stephanie, after one of the Bublassi takes her leg brace. The three new friends roam around Mundytown and perform good deeds, but can they finally put an end to the Bublassi's bullying once and for all? 

This is a charming story about a young girl's adventures and how she finds new friends. Dom had also hoped that asking Rafi to help her write her adventures who serve to bring them close together again. Ever since he began high school, Rafi has had not time for Dom and they used to have so much fun together. 

I liked that both of Dominguita's parents and her brother Rafi are supportive of her adventures, though they encourage her to make new friends, too. Mundytown is such a friendly place to live. Even when Dom can't pay for her lunch at Pancho's uncle's restaurant, he gives her a job to do to work off the cost instead of getting mad. And the grocery store owner, Mr. Kowalski, is more than willing to go along with things and knight Dom with his heirloom sword. 

This is the first book in a new series, and like all first books, much of this one is spent setting the premise for future books. In fact, Book #2, Captain Dom's Treasure is already available (watch this space) and in August, Book #3, All for One, will also be available. These are sure to provide some good reading for younger elementary school kids looking for some fun books.  

And just in case you are wondering, yes, Knight of the Cape does include a windmill.  

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was an ARC gratefully received from Barbara Fisch at Blue Slip Media

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