9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Technically Excellent Yet Lacking That "Read This To Me",
This review is from: The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True (The Knights' Tales Series) (Hardcover)
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This book is book three of a series known as the Knight's Tales. It also follows ten books in something known as the squire's series. Series books have a well worn formula and this one is no exception. Each Chapter is a self contained and natural stopping point. The book overall has a virtue it and presumably the parent would like to form in the young reader. In Sir Gawain that virtue is courtesy. Through a series of adventures and characters, the main character - read the young child's stand in - explores how one lives the virtue and comes to a recognition that it is good. Technically this book is superior to many series books. The illustrations are engaging and help the words. The pace is quick. The vocabulary is appropriate. The virtue actually a virtue and not some modern cause. The writing is witty.
And that might be the problem. The book reads like King Arthur meets The Princess Bride. A post-modern irony drips throughout the story such that the virtue attempting to be promoted is lost in the snark. In attempting to update the King Arthur story the magic and whimsy seem to have been strained out. What is left is a very modern Sir Gawain and the Knights of the Round Table, but a story that forgets the child. Middle boy child in our family loves stories and has trouble letting them go in the middle. I was excited to introduce to him King Arthur. I read to him the first two chapters and put the book down without a grumble from him. When I asked the next night if we should continue, which would normally have been met with an excited yes, I was met with a no, read something else.
On the one hand, Sir Gawain is much better than I would have expected of a children's series. On the other, it seems to be missing the key ingredient.