Mary Pope Osborne Favorite Medieval Tales

ISBN 13: 9780590600422

Favorite Medieval Tales

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9780590600422: Favorite Medieval Tales

In nine favorite tales from medieval Europe, characters such as King Arthur, Beowulf, and the merry outlaw Robin Hood weave a glorious tapestry of an enchanted time. Full color.

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From Publishers Weekly:

With this gorgeously produced volume Osborne and Howell meet and in some ways even exceed the standards they established in Favorite Norse Myths and Mermaid Tales from Around the World. The nine entries range from adaptations of widely known stories ("The Sword in the Stone"; "Robin Hood and His Merry Men") to more eclectic choices (Marie de France's "The Werewolf"; "The Chanticleer and the Fox," adapted from The Canterbury Tales); they also span about a thousand years of Western European literary history. Throughout, Osborne blends suspenseful storytelling with almost imperceptible explanations of the original context. For example, the Green Knight holds out his own head to Gawain, the knight who severed it, and reminds Gawain that he has promised, on his honor, to receive a blow of the ax in return. Osborne subtly relays the historical weight of this exchange: "Even the bravest warrior shuddered. Preserving a knight's honor was more important than preserving his own life." Howell, meanwhile, imaginatively bends medieval traditions to his own uses. As he explains in a detailed endnote, he models his paintings on such works as the Unicorn Tapestries and specific illuminated manuscripts. Adding to the book's educational value, Osborne prefaces each entry with an excerpt in the original language (along with a translation) and conveys further information in unusually meaty appendices. This stylish collection will not only entertain readers but will also nurture a lively interest in history, literature and language, and the way these forces of culture intersect. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Gr. 4^-6, younger for reading aloud. Dramatic and immediate for storytelling, this companion volume to Osborne and illustrator Troy Howell's Favorite Norse Myths (1996) has the same large-size, handsome design with spacious type, thick paper, and full-page painting and illustrated title page for each story. Osborne's nine retellings are faithful in spirit to the original stories, from the Arthurian chivalry of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to the cozy domesticity of Chaucer's beast fable "Chanticleer and the Fox." There is also a Robin Hood story, a French werewolf parable, and versions of Finn Maccoul, Beowulf, the French Song of Roland, and the German Island of the Lost Children, all of them passed down orally and first written down between 1100 and 1450. Howell's acrylic paintings evoke the brightly detailed designs of illuminated manuscripts and medieval tapestries, with monsters and heroes, arches and battlefields. The excellent, readable notes provide historical and literary context, and many readers will go from here to the great full-blown retellings by such writers as Rosemary Sutcliff and Howard Pyle. Hazel Rochman

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