Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Book Reviews! The Arthurian Legend, Castles and all that Medieval Stuff

We're going to visit Corfe Castle again soon. And, you know how King Arthur was allegedly born in Tintagel? Near here???? Squee! If we don't make it there this holidays, we will soon. We are all agog! So we have been reading up on all things Arthur and Castles!

All about castles: DK books have a zillion pictures, which are great for younger readers to study while you read aloud.

DK again. This book goes into great detail, and tells of different Arthurian tales and when they were first told. The main text tells the story, and is very readable and gripping. The sidebars are full of history and facts. We really enjoyed reading this.

'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' is one of the stories contained in the main myth of Arthur. My favourite version is by Michael Morpurgo, not only for the great storytelling but also for Michael Foreman's beautiful watercolour illustrations.

'The Once and Future King', by T.H. White is one of my favourite books of all time. The first part, 'The Sword in the Stone', was adapted (loosely) into a film by Disney. Part one is great reading for kids! Not so much the rest of the book, which becomes dark and scary. Never fear, part one is a tale in itself.

'The Book of Merlyn' contains some of the stories which were in the original 'Once and Future King'. For some reason, later versions have turned the one story into two... we now have the new versions which are great, and eventually I will unpack the old book: a treasure! Merlyn turns the young Arthur into different types of animals to learn about politics: Ants are communists, Geese are military... it's funny and very interesting.

Again, Morpurgo is wonderful in this retelling.

'The Mists of Avalon'... A grownup book. I loved this book. I read it and bawled my eyes out, then lent it to mum, who bawled her eyes out, and then my grandmother read it and SHE bawled her eyes out... this is the story of King Arthur, told from the point of view of the women in the tale. When the boys are older, I hope they will read this beautiful story.