Lancelot: Tales of King Arthur (Books of Wonder)

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9780688148324: Lancelot: Tales of King Arthur (Books of Wonder)
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Provides the exciting adventures of Lancelot as he faces new challenges and dangers in this latest edition ot the boldly illustrated picture book series for beginning readers.

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About the Author:

In His Own Words...

"Children's book authors have to be among the luckiest people in the world. Not only am I paid to do what I love most, but I get to do it without having to grow up. More accurately, the seven-year-old I Hudson is no longer relegated to an ever-receding file in the memory bank hut is once again out-front, fully engaged, sometimes even calling the shots in an active collaboration with Lis adult counterpart.

"I'll always be grateful for the solid, all-American upbringing I was given in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky, but going to school in Rome was a revelation for me. After graduating from Tyler School of Art in Rome, I extended my education by wandering through Europe, settling in Amsterdam for a few years, and then moving to Hong Kong, where I dabbled in the fashion industry. My travels eventually continued through Southeast Asia and culminated with four magical months in Bali. I finally reached New York, fulfilling a childhood ambition, in 1974. Although my original intent was to become a painter, the free-lance illustration work I picked tip to support myself soon predominated as my primary art form. Pursuing my vision in this direction eventually led to writing and illustrating children's books. I had always told stories with pictures. I began to paint with words.

"My series of picture books on the Arthurian legends represents the most ambitious and challenging opportunity that I've ever accepted. Called the central myth of Western civilization by philosopher Joseph Campbell, the Arthurian legends have been evolving over a 1,500 year period, along the way gathering tip and expressing our concepts of love, honor, and courage. Only within the last century have they taken the form of adventure novels for younger readers, and I know of no other attempt to compile the entire cycle into a series of picture books until now. The sheer scale of the material-the vast array of characters and the complexity of their relationships-is beyond Dickens or even "Days of Our Lives."

"The curious occurrence that I've experienced as I've delved deeper through the layers of allegory in my research is that as the underlying truth is revealed to me, I'm not only learning something new about the fine art of storytelling but usually something about myself as well. The first three books, for example, are about Arthur coming into his greatness. In the first book it is thrust upon him by accident of his birth, and in the second he achieves it through his own actions. Finally, in the third, he comes to realize the greatness inherent within himself, as it is within all of us. It is the kind of greatness that finds expression when we finally accept ourselves and embrace the roles open to us in lifewhether it is that of king, gardener, parent, or children's book author.

"My gratitude is boundless for all those who have Supported my creative progress and believed in me long before I believed in myself. By recognizing that writing and illustrating books for young readers is, in fact, my calling, I can serve a greater purpose than fulfilling my own needs. I am reminded of what I heard a blues singer once say: "Talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to Him."

From School Library Journal:

Grade 2-4-Talbott continues his retelling of the "Tales of King Arthur." He begins with Lancelot's birth, his adoption by the Lady of the Lake, and his preparation for presentation at King Arthur's court. Accounts of Lancelot's daring adventures as a knight-errant-slaying dragons and rescuing fair damsels-follow his induction into the knighthood. The story continues with Lancelot's discovery of his love for Guinevere. Ashamed to have betrayed his king's trust by falling in love with his wife, the knight flees to the forest and lives in a state of madness. After a time, he is rescued by Elaine the Fair, who restores him to normalcy. In gratitude, Lancelot marries her and when their son, Galahad, is born, they present the child to the King and Queen. Here the book ends, which may leave readers to believe that they all lived happily ever after. The bold, dramatic, full-page watercolor illustrations are similar to those in the earlier titles in the series, with one jarring exception-the picture of Galahad's presentation at court is almost cartoonlike. This retelling, a series of episodes strung together without much of the complex background found in Malory's retellings, may leave adults questioning the value of trying to present the legend to such young children. Perhaps it's better to wait until they can read a fuller account, such as Howard Pyle's The Story of Sir Lancelot and His Companions (S & S, 1985; o.p.).
Virginia Golodetz, Children's Literature New England, Burlington, VT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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