“Dan Quixote, Boy of Nuevo Jersey”, written by Shevi Arnold, is a fun, entertaining story written for middle grade readers. As you can probably tell from the title, “Dan Quixote” is loosely based on the classic romantic comedy “Don Quixote”, written by Cervantes.
Since my experience with the classic “Don Quixote” mainly consists of watching a few “Wishbone” episodes on PBS, I can’t really say how closely the plot of this story follows the classic novel. However, from what I do remember, Don Quixote was a man with a big imagination, one that sometimes almost bordered on insanity. In that respect, Dan Tyler (the main character of this middle grade novel) is very similar to his namesake.
Dan is definitely a dreamer. Sometimes he takes his fantasizing too far, endangering his own wellbeing. Luckily, at times like that Dan has a sensible best friend named Sandy who is quick to step in and save her Dan from himself.
The main plot of the story revolves around several problems that have cropped up. For one, Dan is in love with a fair maiden named Gwen, a studious young girl who is often picked on by a mean teacher the kids have nicknamed ‘The Dragon’. In hopes of defending his young love, Dan teams up with the school queen bee Jade, determined to take down the Dragon. However, Dan soon finds that teaming up with a bully can backfire and make things even worse.
Throughout the story, Dan and Sandy encounter many problems, but it is those trials that show them what true friendship can do if given a chance. They also learn the power of love, forgiveness, confidence and standing up for what you believe in. This story is inspirational in many ways, but beyond that it is simply a good story, one that is sure to entertain kids and tweens.
To find out more about this book, or to read the first few chapters for yourself, please visit the author’s website, www.sheviarnold.com.