Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Merlin, Arthur, Knights and Dragons!

The boys don't want to be called Merlin and Arthur quite yet. But it seems like we are heading down that road. On Sunday we watched The Sword and the Stone. When the movie was over, we read:

Merlin and the Making of the King
Retold by Margaret Hodges
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
ISBN: 0-8234-1647X

In the sight of all the great lords, Arthur thrust the sword into the stone and pulled it out easily. And though he alone could succeed in the marvelous feat, the lords would not have him. "How can that unknown, beardless boy be king?" they muttered.In this collection of three exciting Arthurian legends, Merlin the magician watches over young Arthur as he rises to become king of all England. But many threats befall Arthur in the kingdom of Camelot: the evil witch Morgan le Fay, the traitor Mordred, and even his best friend, Sir Launcelot. Will the courageous Arthur triumph over the evil forces in his path and bring peace and justice to the world?
With lyrical storytelling and dazzling paintings, renowned author Margaret Hodges and celebrated illustrator Trina Schart Hyman together capture the beauty, danger, and glory of these timeless tales adapted from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

The Paper Bag Princess 
by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
ISBN: 0-920236-16-2
The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald --- who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance. Full color throughout.

King Arthur's Very Great Grandson
by Kenneth Kraegel
(already listed from a previous library book list)

Over the past two days we have been reading: 
Saint George and the Dragon
Retold by Margaret Hodges
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
ISBN: 978-0316367950 

In this retelling of a segment from Spenser's Faerie Queen, Saint George, the Red Cross Knight, is guided by the lady Una to her parents' realm, where in a mighty battle he slays a dragon who has terrorized the land. After thus proving himself, he and Una are married.
Hodges' prose distills much action and color into a fairly brief text, sprinkled with quotes from the original work. The adaptation retains a courtly eloquence but should be easily understood by older readers. For younger listeners it will still be challenging, and it may be best to begin with a paraphrase of the story events, leaving time for questions, and gradually introduce the full text of the story with successive readings. Hyman's mesmerizing illustrations, augmented by lavish and intricate borders, make this book excellent for this kind of exercise, because the pictures do most of the work in capturing a child's imagination. This story of heroism and love is wonderful in its own right, but it should also whet the appetite and prepare the reader for a future experience of the full poem (original text of which is here, and audio is here…).

The Kitchen Knight: a Tale of King Arthur
Retold by Margaret Hodges
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman 
ISBN: 0-8234-0787-X
The Kitchen Knight retells the first part of "The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney," one of the most exciting and entertaining of the stories about King Arthur and his knights, which first appeared in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur.
In this glorious tale Gareth, King Arthur's nephew, is knighted by Sir Lancelot, vanquishes the dreaded Knight of the Red Plain, and wins the hand of a fair maiden.

By Howard Pyle
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
ISBN: 0-688-09837-1 
Betrayed by his own father, the infant son of a lowly miller narrowly escapes death and is lovingly adopted by a faithful she-bear. Raised on her nourishing milk, the boy becomes the strongest man in the land -- and the only one brave enough to battle the kingdom's bloodthirsty three-headed dragon. Yet it is wit, not just courage and might, that the hero must employ to win his true desire: the delicate hand of a princess already betrothed to another.
Nothing could be more delicious than the marvelous quest that ensues -- a tale of romantic valor, stolen glory, and sweet justice. Caldecott Medalist Trina Schart Hyman has created a pictorial drama that is alive with good humor and splendid characters as forever memorable as Howard Pyle's timeless story. Here is a winning revival from the classic book The Wonder Clock that will surely be savored again and again.

The Water of Life
Retold by Barbara Rogasky
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Once upon a time, there was a king so sick that everyone thought he would die. His three sons learned of the Water of Life, which would make their father well. One by one they went to find it. The oldest and middle sons, cursed by a curious dwarf for their pride, got trapped in a narrow ravine and could not move forward or back. But the youngest son was rewarded with the ability to find the Water of Life and help save his father. Before the youngest son could succeed, he had to tame two lions, survive alone and lost in the forest, and defeat his brothers' treachery.
This fairy tale, elegantly retold by Barbar Rogasky, is rich in the traditional elements of folklore. Good and evil battle to win, the imprisoned beautiful princess is freed, a magic sword saves the day, and love is redeemed through trial. All these ingredients are vividly portrayed in Trina Schart Hyman's luxurious illustrations.

Flight of the Last Dragon
By Robert Burleigh
Illustrated by Mary GrandPre
ISBN: 978-0-399-25200-6
What if there was but one dragon left in the world?
What if dragons were more than just imaginary creatures? What if long ago they soared through our skies? And what if there was only one dragon left? Where might it hide from our machines, from our technology, from us? And where would it go if it spread its wings for one last flight?
New York Times bestselling writer Robert Burleigh and Harry Potter artist Mary GrandPre answer these questions by taking us on one last great journey into the starry night. Read this book with a child and wait for the inevitable moment when he looks to the sky . . . and wonders.

Iron John
adapted from the Brothers Grimm
By Eric A. Kimmel
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
ISBN: 0-8234-1248-2

The tale of "Iron John" or "Iron Hans," as it is sometimes translated, has fascinated me since I read it for the first time when I was eight years old. The story is rich in archetypal symbolism. Writers such as Robert Bly and Joseph Campbell have discussed it at great length. Readers interested in understanding the story's deeper levels of meaning should refer to their works.
"Iron John" is a lengthy tale. To make it with the narrow confines of a picture book text I found it necessary to cut the first part, Iron John's capture, which is a fascinating episode but one that has little connection with the rest of the story. Except for Iron John, the characters in the original version are nameless. I took the liberty of giving the king's son and the garden girl names. Elsa comes from "Patient Elsa," another tale from Grimm. Walter takes his name from a knight who fought in the First Crusade: Gautier-Sans-Avoir or "Walter-Without-Wealth."
The most significant difference between this version of the story and Grimm's is that here Elsa the garden girl, not the princess, marries Walter. I always resented the idea that a princess who despised the hero when he was poor would love him when he became rich. Fie on princesses! Elsa loves Walter truly, and so she will have him.
- Eric A. Kimmel May 30, 1992

We have also been listening to C. S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader via our apple TV, while the boys play. They love it. Here's the description from Amazon:
A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail farther and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more than they imagined and that the world's end is only the beginning.
Anything can happen in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a novel that stands on its own, but if you would like return to worlds beyond your wildest imagination, read The Silver Chair, the sixth book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

I love listening to the boys playing. They talk about C. S. Lewis (I don't even think I knew that name until I was in high school!), and the White Witch while they play with their PlayMobile firefighters on a pirate ship…. They are so creative, curious and love reading. After we finished reading today, I finished blogging this, and the boys have been listening to the above audiobook. I love the development of Eustice Scrubb, and Peter loves listening for the mouse, Reepicheep! I look forward to the rest of the adventures today will bring!

1 comment:

  1. I love this! Narnia is still my favorite! And The Never Ending Story - lot's to learn there! Love from Sweden :-P