Lemon-Squash has joined in on the Classics Retold project, in which book bloggers pick a classic, read adaptations, spin offs and sequels all summer, and then tell you about the best stuff in September. We’ve chosen King Arthur (and all those associated with him), and we can’t wait to start reading! Here are a few of the titles we’ll be looking at:
Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory
The legends of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table have inspired some of the greatest works of literature–from Cervantes’s Don Quixote to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Although many versions exist, Malory’s stands as the classic rendition. Malory wrote the book while in Newgate Prison during the last three years of his life; it was published some fourteen years later, in 1485, by William Caxton. The tales, steeped in the magic of Merlin, the powerful cords of the chivalric code, and the age-old dramas of love and death, resound across the centuries.
The stories of King Arthur, Lancelot, Queen Guenever, and Tristram and Isolde seem astonishingly moving and modern. Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur endures and inspires because it embodies mankind’s deepest yearnings for brotherhood and community, a love worth dying for, and valor, honor, and chivalry.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman
It’s New Year’s Eve in Camelot, where King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and all their good Knights wait breathlessly for an extravagant feast to begin. Suddenly, a strange and frightening Knight bursts into the hall — a giant of a man, green from head to toe, who mockingly challenges the Court to a shocking game. Only the chivalrous Sir Gawain dares to take on the hideous Green Knight. But over the unexpected course of his test, will Gawain prove as brave and honest as he’d like to believe? Welcome to a medieval world full of sword fights and shape-shifting, monsters and magic, and timeless characters both gallant and wonderfully human. Written anonymously in the fourteenth century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is retold in its entirety by Michael Morpurgo in a lively and accessible narration that captures all the tale’s drama and humor. Vivid illustrations by the celebrated Michael Foreman infuse this classic tale with the sights and colors of dragons, swords, and medieval pageantry.
The Arthur Trilogy #1: The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland
The year is 1199, the place the Welsh Marches. Young Arthur de Caldicot is given a shining stone in which his legendary namesake is revealed. In 100 short chapters that brilliantly evoke life in a medieval manor, stories of the boy King Arthur begin to echo and anticipate the secrets and mysteries that emerge in his own life.
Continued in At the Crossing-Places, King of the Middle March, and Gatty’s Tale
Magic Tree House #29: Christmas in Camelot written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by illustrated by Sal Murdocca
The Magic Tree House series has become a staple for inspiring kids to read. Christmas in Camelot is a very special Magic Tree House book. Here, author Mary Pope Osborne uses the literary skills for which she’s known to create a longer, more in-depth story featuring the characters kids have come to love. The result is magical: a fast-paced but detailed, easy-to-read story. Jack and Annie go on a quest to save Camelot, a quest that will prove to a beleaguered King Arthur that children and imagination really can make a difference.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
When A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court was published in 1889, Mark Twain was undergoing a series of personal and professional crises. Thus what began as a literary burlesque of British chivalry and culture grew into a disturbing satire of modern technology and social thought. The story of Hank Morgan, a nineteenth-century American who is accidentally returned to sixth-century England, is a powerful analysis of such issues as monarchy versus democracy and free will versus determinism, but it is also one of Twain’s finest comic novels, still fresh and funny after more than 100 years.
King’ Arthur’s Very Great Grandson written and illustrated by Kenneth Kraegel
Henry Alfred Grummorson is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Arthur, King of Britain. On his sixth birthday, adorned with a helmet and sword, Henry goes in search of adventure. He challenges a fire-breathing dragon to a fight, but the dragon prefers a game of blowing smoke rings. A cyclops wants only to have a staring contest. Even the griffin will not engage in — a battle to the uttermost — of the type Henry desires. Desperate for a real battle, strength against strength, might against might, Henry seeks out the fearsome leviathan. Has he met his match at last — or might he find something he didn’t know he was looking for? Children bold and imaginative will relate to Henry’s quest — and smile at its unintended consequences.
Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen
The newly crowned King Arthur has yet to win the support of the people. Merlin must do something before the king is betrayed, or murdered, or–worst of all–gets married. So Merlin creates a trick: a sword magically placed into a slab of rock that only Arthur can withdraw. Then he lets it be known that whosoever removes the blade will rule all of England, and invites any man who would dare, to try to pull out the sword.
But then someone else pulls the sword out first. . . .
The Merlin Spiral #1: Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard
A strange meteorite. A deadly enchantment. And only Merlin can destroy it. A meteorite brings a mysterious black stone whose sinister power ensnares everyone except Merlin, the blind son of a swordsmith. Soon, all of Britain will be under its power, and he must destroy the stone — or die trying.
Continued in Merlin’s Shadow, due out in September 2013.
(All descriptions quoted from publishers’ websites)
And that’s just scratching the surface! Are there others that you’d recommend?