Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Review: THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT THE GREAT and THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GIVRET THE SHORT by Gerald Morris
-- The Adventures of Sir Givret the Short. Illus. Aaron Renier. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-618-77715-0. $15.00. Ages 9 – 12
These two books are part of a larger collection called The Knights' Tales. Author Gerald Morris takes the stories and characters of Malory's La Morte D'Arthur and other Arthurian works and adapts them for elementary aged boys. He weaves the enormous corpus of Arthurian literature into short, easily digestive, often hilariously funny narratives. Each book centers around one character's adventures. As a medieval studies major, with a sizeable knowledge of Arthurian literature, Morris impressed me with his accuracy.
In Sir Lancelot the Great, Morris brilliantly manages to make many sticky issues of the Lancelot legend, such as his possibly illegitimate birth, his relationship with Guinevere, and his vanity, completely appropriate for children. Lancelot in this tale is comically obsessed with keeping his armor shiny, he cherishes his daily afternoon naps, and refuses to accept a lady's tournament token – all while maintaining his status as the greatest fighter in all the land.
Overall, Morris' tales are absolutely delightful. I enjoyed every moment of reading them and will pass them along to the first 11-year-old boy I meet! Morris has written an extensive collection of Arthurian children's books – if they are all as good as these two, I would like to read them all!