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Song Of The Sparrow Paperback – August 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

LISA ANN SANDELL is the author of The Weight of the Sky, a novel in verse that Kirkus described as “lovely” and “poignant.” A longtime devotee of Arthurian legends and a children's book editor, she lives in New York City with her husband and their puppy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lisa Ann Sandell studies sculpture, is re-learning to play the trumpet, and, like Cora, has always found art and writing to be a driving force in her life. She is the author of THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY, which was named one of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age, and SONG OF THE SPARROW, which was a BookSense Summer 2007 pick and which Publishers Weekly called "unique and eloquently wrought" in a starred review. Lisa works as a children’s books editor and lives in New York City with her husband, the author Liel Leibovitz, and their dog, Molly. Please visit her online at


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439918499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439918497
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 6.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write and edit children's books, and I also teach a creative writing class.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on April 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sixteen-year-old Elaine of Ascolat is amazingly beautiful with her long red hair and her soft natural face. Living in an army camp full of all guys, Elaine figures the handsome Lancelot to be her true love. Until her troubles and daydreams get the best of her, when even prettier Gwynivere arrives at the camp and is immediatley drawn to Lancelot - even though she is engaged to Arthur.

Gwynivere's mean remarks but beautiful outer self makes Elaine jealous enough to play a cruel prank on her, but when her friends and family leave her to go fight the Saxons, her heart tells her to pack a bag and go with them to heal the wounded. Shot by arrows and cut by a knife, Elaine gains both friendship and confidence in herself.

This exciting book by Lisa Ann Sandell makes you feel like you are back in olden times, right there fighting with Elaine. This is a VERY well-written book and I recommend it to all. A great read!

Reviewed by: Holly
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on June 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Something about King Arthur draws people to his stories. Gwynivere. Lancelot. The wizard, Merlin. Gawain. Tristan. The Round Table. The sword, Excalibur. Throughout the centuries the legend of Arthur continues to grow.

Britain, 490 A.D.

The adventurous Elaine of Ascolat, known throughout the myths as The Lady of Shallot, lives with her father in one of Britain's war camps. He is an avid supporter of Britain and has joined the army to serve his king and country. Ambrosius Aurelius, leader of all Britons, is about to lead his people into the battle of Mount Breguoin against the Saxon army. Britain is on the brink of war, again.

Elaine has been raised to believe that a woman's domain is in the home, not on the battlefront. But when she thinks of her father and brothers and the other men she's grown to care for, she feels she's in the right place. The people she loves most could march off to battle today and never come back. Why would she want to be anywhere else?

The only other girl at camp is Morgan, Arthur's older sister, but she's much too close to the king for Elaine to share her deepest secret with --- Elaine is in love with Lancelot. Elaine and Lancelot grew up together, playing games and running along the riverbanks, but all that was long ago. Now when Lancelot looks at her, all he sees is a wonderful girl. He sees a gifted healer, a girl armed with milfoil and poultices to stanch the wounds of the soldiers. He sees her skill at mending clothing and chain mail. He sees her loyalty, her hard work and her vital job within the army. But he doesn't see a woman.

When King Aurelius is poisoned by a Saxon spy, Arthur is the obvious replacement.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Beth A. Miller on October 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I just sat transfixed as I read SONG OF THE SPARROW from cover to cover. It is so beautifully written, and it really held me captivated. I am a huge fan of Arthurian legends, from THE MISTS OF AVALON to Clive Owen's "King Arthur," to Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott," especially Loreena McKennitt's hauntingly sung rendition of the poem.

Ms. Sandell's book truly brought to life the saga of Elaine, fated to love a man who did not return her feelings, and kept alive the heroism of Arthur, Lancelot, Gawain, Tristan, and all the other knights, who seemed like the kind of guys every girl would want to have around.

The characters are so very human, from Arthur right on down the line. It is great to see Elaine's character given so much depth--always when I've read about her before, she is jealous and hateful, forever fated to take second place to Guinevere in Lancelot's heart. I've also never before seen Lancelot portrayed the way he is in this book, and I love the happy ending this tale is given.

I've never read a book set in verse as this one was, and it truly enhanced the beauty of the words. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY, and very much look forward to Ms. Sandell's next book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CarleeAK on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book while browsing through Amazon's lists and reviews. Even though there was no summary for the book, I ordered it, based on the lone review, and the fact that I liked the cover.

I was rather surprised to open the book and find it told in verse format (I think that's what it's called - it's not really poems, but like prose or verse). I've never read a book like that, and from the review and lack of summary, I'd assumed it was a novel. I had been ridiculously excited, being a fan of stories like the Round Table and Arthur and medieval times, but a little less thrilled at the format. But I told myself I'd give it a try, read a couple of chapters.

The story was amazing. It's a retelling of Elaine of Ascolat as a teenager in Arthur's (then military leader, not yet King) military camp, surrounded by all the young Knights of the Round Table (Arhtur, Lancelot, Tristan, Gawain). As the only girl, aside from Arthur's older sister, she has a special, unique position in the camp, until beautiful and snobby Gwynivere comes along. Gwynivere also catches the attention and affection of Lancelot, whom Elaine has had a crush on since childhood. Told within this setting and legend is Elaine's growing up, coming-of-age story/moment/adventure.

I don't really understand the purpose of the format, but it read like a really fast book. I finished it in a couple of hours and then immediately went looking for more on the legend of Elaine (aka, the Lady of Shalott - I just kept thinking of that scene from Anne of Green Gables...). I was surprised at the parts of the original legend that made it into this story. This book also re-interested me in Meg Cabot's Avalon High, which I had to track down so I could reread it after reading this amazing version.

Bottom line, great story that sparked further interest in the legend.
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