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Tales of King Arthur: Excalibur (Books of Wonder) Hardcover – September 27, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An often bewitching but occasionally insipid visualization of an ancient tale, the third in Talbott's series of Arthurian legends (after King Arthur and the Round Table) traces young King Arthur's maturation as he battles King Pellinore and receives the sword Excalibur. The story is recounted prosaically, even awkwardly: "I need a quest!" complains Arthur. "A knight has more fun than a king." However, the pictures, composed in a traditional and romantic style, gracefully portray the hero's transition from a pretty, wistful youth to a reverent, confident king. Panoramic spreads of Arthur with his army convey a time-honored spirit of honor and adventure. The distinctly bloody fight scenes and a Barbie-esque Lady of the Lake are less than compelling, but Talbott is at his vivid best with animals: rearing horses, eager dogs and a miraculous Questing Beast. The intriguingly misty landscapes lend the classic story an air of mystery. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6?Filling in more of the story begun in his King Arthur and the Round Table (1995) and The Sword in the Stone (1991, both Morrow), Talbott describes Arthur's maturation from an impulsive, glory-seeking boy to a young king, ready to serve others. The pictures are as colorful as the tale, yet both illustrations and words leave something to be desired. Sharp-eyed readers may spot inaccuracies, inconsistencies, or awkwardness in the watercolors (the Saxons' ships and helmets are Viking-style; horseless Pellinore steals Arthur's roan, but "next morning" is riding a black steed; Arthur is in a fancy crown with Pendragon insignia on shield, saddle, horseblanket, etc., but Pellinore asks forgiveness because he didn't recognize his king when they fought; the figures are poorly proportioned, etc.) The language is awkwardly suspended between the casual ("A knight has more fun than a king," Arthur whines early on), and the pontifical ("As for death, I welcome it, if it is my time," he intones a few pages later). Instead of this bland offering, slightly older readers should look for Robin Lister's The Legend of King Arthur (Doubleday, 1990), while younger ones will have more fun with Marcia Williams's King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (Candlewick, 1996).?Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Books of Wonder
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl (September 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688133800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688133801
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Picky Mom on February 11, 2010
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Each of the books in this collection by Hudson Talbott is excellent. My 5 year old son developed an interest in knights after a visit to Medieval Times. From there, he discovered King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Of the many books we have on this topic, there are the best written. The illustrations are wonderful. I highly recommend the entire collection. (Note: his 3 year old brother enjoys them too)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fan of Time-Life Books on September 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Tales of King Arthur: Excalibur tells how the sword named Excalibur came into the possession of King Arthur. After defeating his Saxon enemies Arthur becomes bored and wants to go on a quest. In the process, Arthur fights King Pellinore. Arthur is injured but eventually recovers. With the guidance of Merlin, Arthur goes to Avalon and encounters the Lady of the Lake who presents Excalibur to Arthur. He eventually tames his restlessness and takes his responsibilities as king more seriously. The full color illustrations greatly enhance the narrative and make this book ideal for young readers interested in Arthurian literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Hunt on December 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good retelling of classic story, colorful illustrations are a plus and language is understandable for an elementary school student. We bought this along with Sword in the Stone and King Arthur and the Round Table for our son as a gift and he enjoyed them very much.
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By Blue Dog on February 20, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a short book with few pages. The pages are unnumbered. There is no table of contents. The artwork is good but a little too laid back for my taste. I would have given this two stars, but I added one star for effort made.

This might make a good book for a child to review after having read fuller stories.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy S. Seo on December 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very bright color they have and cool story. I like EXCALIBUR and Arthur stories, but It is a very short story for 1st grader. I expected big children's book.
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