The epic warrior from earliest English literature
Beowulf was always a hero. As a child, he borrowed his father's sword to attack a nest of savage trolls that preyed on travelers. Now a young man, he seeks to defend the Danish king
Hrothgar from a monster named Grendel. King Hrothgar asks Beowulf, "Are you not afraid?" Beowulf replies, "Why should I fear? If I am fated to win, then Grendel cannot defeat me. If
I am fated to lose, then it has been my destiny since the day I was born." Sure of his role, if not of his success, Beowulf prepares to battle Grendel . . .
This story of Beowulf is an introduction to the classic confrontation between good and evil, pared to perfection by the author and brought to life in monumental acrylic paintings by the artist.
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Eric A. Kimmel and Leonard Everett Fisher have collaborated on Don Quixote and the Windmills. The author lives in Portland, Oregon, and the illustrator lives in Westport, Connecticut.
Grade 4-6–A great green monster, cool Viking gear, and powerful, concise language mark this book, which should be called Beowulf 1A, since it tells only half of Part One of the poem. Straightening out the epic's chronology, Kimmel begins with Beowulf's youthful exploits as a troll- and serpent-slayer (but not as a marathon swimmer, a boast he defends in the poem). Then the telling moves "across the sea" (a map would be helpful) to Heorot, where Grendel is wreaking havoc. Beowulf disarms to fight fairly with the monster, and after a fierce struggle literally dis-arms him. Grendel sinks, dying, into the muck, and the Danes rejoice: end of tale. Manic mothers are all too common, and maybe too scary: Grendel's Mom's scene is cut, and the dragon that Beowulf dies killing, 50 years later, is not even a shadow on the story. Nor are there any Christian references, which pepper the poem (but probably not the legend it enshrined). Fisher's large-scale compositions, easily visible across a reading group, feature bright tones for sails, shields, and jerkins bracketed by sky and sea (or by a matte gold ground). Grendel is a pustular jade. Kimmel approaches the stylistic markers of the poem too timidly: "swan-road" would be livelier than "the sea," and "sinews snapped and bone-joints burst" better than "Grendel's shoulder burst." But let's hope that a Part Two from these collaborators will provide a chance to paint a dragon and to throw in litotes or kenning.–Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110374306710
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB0374306710
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0374306710 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0114090