Max and the Midknights (Max & the Midknights #1)

by Lincoln Peirce (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max's uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act...and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers--the Midknights--Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits! 

Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Big Nate series.

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School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Set in the Middle Ages, this hilarious illustrated novel centers on Max, who is often mistaken for a boy because of her short hair and assertive personality. Max wants to be a knight, not an entertainer like her uncle. She finally gets her chance when her uncle is kidnapped by the evil and aptly named King Gastley. She and several and other courageous children dub themselves the Midknights and come to the rescue. Aided by the retired wizard Mumblin, Max and her team try to restore peace to the Kingdom of Byjovia. This is a story of magic and adventure. Comic panels with Peirce's signature black-and-white art are expertly placed amid small paragraphs of text. Readers will be drawn into this fun setting. While this novel stands alone from the "Big Nate" books, the opening page references the series, as Nate's teacher chastises him for submitting "Max and the Midknights" as his nonfiction book report. VERDICT A solid purchase for all middle grade collections, especially for fans of "Big Nate."—Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Max's uncle Budrick is a traveling troubadour in a 14th-century Europe-like countryside, and he's the only family Max has. When the two visit Budrick's homeland, the kingdom of Byjovia, they encounter King Gastley, who kidnaps Budrick and orders him to be his court jester. Max, who has always yearned to be a knight, must figure out how to rescue Budrick with the aid of new friends, the newly anointed Midknights. Thus begins a winding adventure filled with laughs, hijinks, and unexpected revelations, including a few about Max's identity. Peirce mixes the formats of traditional and graphic novel, conveying much of the tale with panels but including prose passages on many pages. Filled with exciting elements, including wizards, dragons, zombies, and flying rats, this mischievous medieval tale in characteristic cartoons by Big Nate creator Peirce will entertain young and adult readers with adventure and humor. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year

"Max is epic fun!" -Jeff Kinney, New York Times bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

"Fantastic! I loved it!" -Dav Pilkey, New York Times bestselling author of the Captain Underpants series

Lincoln Peirce
Lincoln Peirce is a New York Times bestselling author and cartoonist. His comic strip Big Nate appears in over 400 newspapers worldwide and online at In 2010, he began a series of illustrated novels based on the strip, introducing Nate and his classmates and teachers to a new generation of young readers. In the past seven years, sixteen million Big Nate books have been sold.
The New York Times bestselling Max and the Midknights originated as an unfinished spoof of sword and sorcery tales. Returning to the idea years later, Lincoln rewrote the story around Max, a ten-year-old apprentice troubadour who dreams of becoming a knight.
When he is not writing or drawing, Lincoln enjoys playing ice hockey, doing crossword puzzles, and hosting a weekly radio show devoted to vintage country music. He and his wife, Jessica, have two children and live in Portland, Maine.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
January 02, 2024
Max & the Midknights
BISAC categories
JUV016070 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Medieval
JUV008040 - Juvenile Fiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Action & Adventure
JUV008110 - Juvenile Fiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Humorous
JUV008080 - Juvenile Fiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Fantasy
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Adventure and adventurers
Adventure stories
Knights and knighthood
Middle Ages

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