Once Upon a Tim

Once Upon a Tim
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2022
Buy This Book
Join New York Times bestselling author Stuart Gibbs in this first book in a hilarious, highly illustrated new middle grade series about a peasant boy who wants to be a knight, perfect for fans of Max & the Midknights.

Tim is just a peasant, but he dreams big. He wants more out of life than to grow up to be a woodsman like his father. Unfortunately, the only route to success in the kingdom of Merryland is to be born a prince. Still, Tim is determined. He is brave and clever and always tries to do the right thing—even though he rarely gets the credit for it.

Then news spreads that Princess Grace of the neighboring kingdom has been abducted by the evil Stinx and Prince Ruprecht needs a legion of knights to join him on his quest to rescue her. Tim finally has the lucky break he’s been waiting for, the opportunity to change his station in life. And even though he doesn’t know how to ride a horse or wield anything more deadly than a hoe, he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure his dream becomes a reality.

Editor review

1 review
fast-paced romp into Medieval times
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I Loved: Once upon a Tim is what I imagine a book would be like if the game Munchkin was ever a story. It was delightfully quirky in its slapstick tale of a medieval peasant who decides to join the Prince on a quest to save the Princess from a Stinx (like a Styx but smellier).
This book was the perfect read-aloud for middle-grade audiences. It lended itself well to lots of expression and sarcasm in Tim’s explanation of events. My son and I laughed at nearly every page. We especially loved Nerlim. He is like Merlin but without magic, skill, honesty…
This book has nifty IQ booster vocabulary words helpfully labeled and then explained throughout the tale. I am a well-read adult, but even I learned a few words, like borborygmus, which my son found especially hilarious that I struggled to pronounce.
The illustrations were humorous and plentiful, helping the story be a very quick read. This would work great for a lesson on vocabulary building or comparing how Medieval times were actually like.
Final Verdict: This fast-paced romp into Medieval times is just the adventure of Doom that middle-grade readers will enjoy. It has a nice vocabulary for teachers to justify reading even if the historical accuracy might be a bit lacking. There are times when Tim speaks to us outside of the knowledge a peasant would have. Such as when he discusses modern plumbing that is funny but would help a young reader understand the context a bit better. Belinda’s character often speaks of the injustices of the female expectations of this time period, and decides to become a knight as well. Overall, this story is very enjoyable.
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