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The Little Lame Prince Hardcover – August 18, 2008
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Top customer reviews
Howard Pyle was the first person in the modern era to collect all the Robin Hood ballads that had come down from the midieval era and put them into a modern format, structured as stories and so forth. Essentially every version of Robin Hood in the past century has drawn on Howard Pyle's Robin Hood as its major source, and reading this book is the best way to understand why the minor characters in (for example) Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" are named things like "Will Scarlet" or "Much the Miller's Son."
I was given this book to read as a child, and it was and still is one of my all-time favorites (although I always avoided reading the final chapter, which Pyle even warns his readers they may want to do). The elevated, pseudo-elizabethan style even helped me later on -- when I got to Shakespeare in school, the language was easy for me, because I'd been reading Howard Pyle since I was eight.
The problem with this ebook version is that it doesn't contain the illustrations, though. And that's simply unforgivable. Howard Pyle is today better known as an illustrator than as a writer. He was the art teacher who taught people like Arthur Rackham and N.C. Wyeth. His illustrations are immensely rich and detailed, and as full of period accuracy and background research as his writing was. It's an unforgivable shame to miss them.
Versions of this book can be found online free with illustrations. Don't bother with this version, as it doesn't have them. Reading this book without the illustrations is like taking an oscar-winning film and just listening to the sound with the screen blacked out. You can do it, but why?
EDIT: There are now many Kindle versions of this book, all cross-linked so they share reviews. Currently at least, none of the free versions have illustrations; the 99-cent version marked "illustrated" does appear to have most of them, but severely cropped, without many of Pyle's marginalia and scrollwork.
The stories are funny, light and easy to read (only some old English to contend with). If you're looking for a break from the violent, blood, serious or supernatural, here is a good choice.
It's amazing how contemporary Robin Hood is. The merry men are just a bunch of slackers (Robin included) who just want to drink ale and give somebody a good beating. It's the best non-violent violent book that you can find LOL...
This edition is just as good as the story. I love the artwork on the cover and the illustrations inside. The binding is sturdy. A very handsome copy!