In this chapter-book series opener Dominguita Melendez is on a quest to teach the class bully that girls can most definitely be knights, no matter what he has to say about it.
Really, it’s not so much that Dom wants to be an actual knight. She simply wants to read about them in peace. Reading makes her feel close to her abuela, who just left for Florida to live with her sister because she can’t remember things like she used to. Reading Abuela’s favorite book, Don Quijote, lets the young Cubana feel like they are still together. With the weekend in front of her, Dom sets out as a knight-errant to rescue those in need. With any luck, she will have a daring rescue that her brother, Rafi, can write about, both to prove Ernie Bublassi wrong and to send to Abuela. With some help, Dom finds armor and a lance, and she even picks up a few friends along the way, learning that some adventures are better with a squire and trusty dog—er, steed—by your side. While the plot is carried by Dom’s search for knightly deeds, the focus is on the relationships in her vibrant Cuban American community. It’s heartwarming to see adults take a young girl’s knightly play seriously. Even better are the friendships she builds with her squire, Pancho Sanchez, and her master of the cookies, Steph, who walks with a brace. Dom has olive skin, and Pancho has brown skin; Ernie and Steph seem to be White. Book 2, Captain Dom’s Treasure, publishes simultaneously.
A charming adventure that will encourage kids to become knights in their own communities as well. (Fiction. 7-9)
– Kirkus Reviews, STARRED, January 1, 2021