Beowulf and Grendel are on the road, searching for family and arriving in a country on the verge of rebellion in their new adventure Kid Beowulf: The Song Of Roland. Beowulf was the source for the first volume (Kid Beowulf: The Blood Bound Oath), and in this new adventure Alexis E. Fajardo’s inspiration is the epic French poem The Song of Roland. Fajardo takes the original poem’s characters and scenes and transforms the poem into an action-packed, hilarious story told through his bright and colorful comic style.
After being banished from their homeland, twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel are on the road to find their Uncle Holger in the country of Francia. When they are not bickering, they read letters to learn about their uncle’s adventures fighting alongside King Charlemagne and his group of noble knights, known as the Peers, against the Saracen army. Except, instead of receiving battle training and a safe haven, the twins soon discover that the Peers are no more, the country of Francia is lost since its king is ill, and a new exciting amusement park called Ro-Land, in honor of Francia’s famous hero Roland, will be opening very soon.
Just like in his previous book Fajardo combines an ancient story, humorous anecdotes, and diverse characters to create an entertaining storyline. His colorful comic artwork and layouts flow well and each character is unique and expressive, whether they are in a dramatic battle scene or a moment of slapstick comedy. But aside from comical moments, the graphic novel’s storyline contains enough action and drama for the reader to enjoy. Fajardo uses key characters and moments from the original epic poem, such as Roland’s famous sword Durendal, the oliphant (horn), and the battles between the Peers and the Saracen army. The character of Roland himself is not your typical perfect hero. Similar to Beowulf and Grendel from the first book, Roland steers away from the cliche mighty hero and becomes a character with normal struggles. While he does have an ego that needs to be checked, he does not boast about his fame. As for Beowulf and Grendel, they continue to find their place in society by assisting in the recovery of Francia and learning how to defend themselves and work together. The rest of the characters, including the villains, are well developed and play key roles within the story.
Fajardo includes additional information at the end of the book: a history of the time period, short biographies of each character, history of the original poem, a bibliography of retellings and translations, and definitions of key terms used throughout the comic. The extra information will give readers a chance to learn more about the importance of the original text and why specific scenes were used in the graphic novel. With its historic references and detailed storyline, readers within 3rd-6th grade who enjoy mythology and action stories will enjoy this series. Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland is a must have for any library’s children’s collection, especially if patrons are fans of the first book.
Kid Beowulf, vol. 2: The Song of Roland
by Alexis E. Fajardo
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 9 and up