The Ballad of Sir Dinadan (The Squire's Tales)

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9780618190997: The Ballad of Sir Dinadan (The Squire's Tales)

Young Dinadan has no wish to joust or quest or save damsels in distress or do any of the knightly things expected of him. He’d rather be a minstrel, playing his rebec and writing ballads. But he was born to be a knight, and knights, of course, have adventures.
So after his father forces his knighthood upon him, he wanders toward King Arthur’s court, in the company of a misguided young Welsh lad named Culloch. There Dinadan meets Sir Kai and Sir Bedivere, and the three find themselves accompanying Culloch on the worst sort of quest. Along the way, Dinadan writes his own ballads, singing of honor, bravery, loyalty, and courtly love—and becomes a player in the pathetic love story of Tristram and Iseult. He meets the Moorish knight Palomides, the clever but often exasperating Lady Brangienne, and an elvin musician named Sylvanus, along with an unusual collection of recreant knights and dimwitted defenders of chivalry. He learns that while minstrels sing of spectacular heroic deeds, honor is often found in simpler, quieter ways.

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About the Author:

When Gerald Morris was in fifth grade he loved Greek and Norse mythology and before long was retelling the stories to his younger sister and then to neighborhood kids. He began carrying a notebook in which he kept some of the details related to the different stories. The joy he found in retelling those myths continued when he discovered other stories. According to Gerald Morris, “I never lost my love of retelling the old stories. When I found Arthurian literature, years later, I knew at once that I wanted to retell those grand tales. So I pulled out my notebook . . . I retell the tales, peopling them with characters that I at least find easier to recognize, and let the magic of the Arthurian tradition go where it will.” Gerald Morris lives in Wausau, Wisconsin, with his wife and their three children. In addition to writing he serves as a minister in a church.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-9-Morris's latest retelling of Arthurian legends introduces a reluctant knight who upholds the noble standards of Camelot in his own way. The likable and unassuming Dinadan, younger brother of the famous Sir Tristram, travels the land, encountering deceptive damsels and foolish knights. His compassion and common sense earn him the respect of many, and his keen wit satirizes the excesses of Arthurian heroism that he observes along the way. The tragic tale of Tristram and Iseult becomes a funny story "about two fools drinking from the wrong flask." Dinadan befriends a would-be knight named Culloch, but can't endure the useless parade of tasks his friend eagerly attempts to win a bride. The humor is accessible; readers don't need to know The Faery Queene to appreciate Dinadan's playful mockery of allegory (or, as he calls it, "saying things by pretending to say something else"). Along with the satire, though, Dinadan succeeds in righting some true wrongs, protecting a young woman he admires, and restoring a deposed king to his throne. Morris's skilled storytelling keeps the tale moving smoothly through various plot strands featuring many characters. The humor ranges from subtle irony to scenes of pure comedy, but never distracts from the engaging plot. Fans of the previous titles or Arthurian legend in general will thoroughly enjoy Sir Dinadan, but it stands on its own as a lighthearted introduction to the period.
Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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