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K-Gr 2–Based on the traditional English ballad, this picture book concentrates on the episode when the Sheriff of Nottingham tries to capture Robin Hood by luring him from the woods for an archery contest. The text is straightforward, making this book a good entry point into the legend for younger readers. The author maintains a lighthearted tone throughout, building anticipation for Robin's triumph, then adding a final bonus when the Merry Men give a parting gift to the Sheriff, a taunting poem. In an author's note, San Souci explains his research and how his version evolved from other sources. Lewis's watercolor paintings are in the N.C. Wyeth vein, but with a fresh, energetic interpretation. Less idealized than Wyeth's, these characters look like real men. The Sheriff, with his crownlike hat, purple robe, and haughty expression, appears rather regal, but his villain status is clear. Fans of San Souci's collection of Arthurian picture books will be pleased by his take on another classic.Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Drawing upon the traditional British ballad of the same name rooted in the fifteenth century, San Souci retells one of Robin Hood’s most famed exploits. The dastardly sheriff of Nottingham concocts a plan to trap the outlaw and his men by holding an archery contest, knowing they can’t possibly resist a shot at winning the treasure. Robin shows up in disguise, spectacularly wins the contest, and takes home the golden arrow. Ever the playful one, he does a bit of flaunting and lobs a poem proclaiming his true identity through a window to the steaming sheriff. San Souci stays faithful to the original, almost to a fault—savvy readers may wonder how the sheriff got anywhere in life being so addle-brained he is fooled by clothing and a fake beard. But Lewis’ stately artwork brings the lushness of the forest and the dramatic resolve of the hero to life and could well make this a go-to picture book for children meeting the Merry Men for the first time. Grades 1-3. --Ian ChipmanSee all Editorial Reviews