by Gerald Morris, published 2011
“King Arthur covered his eyes with his hands. Sometimes in those early days he wondered what it would take to prove to his knights that courtesy was as important as courage.”
Looking for a children’s book I count on liking, I returned to Gerald Morris again, this time to his series called The Knights’ Tales. (The earlier series I reviewed was called The Squire’s Tales.)
In this series, he takes some of the same King Arthur legends, but reworks them for a younger audience. I was delighted with how easily I could read this children’s book cover to cover, and enjoy both the writing and the message.
Morris has a great sense of humor, and modernizes his retelling of King Arthur in a way that allows today’s children to access it. He also emphasizes the goodness rather than the gory. For example, in the Gawain story, it’s all about courtesy. I discovered some explanation for Morris’s skill when I found out he is a pastor. He writes children’s books to support himself, and also uses them as a lovely platform for uplifting, and not heavy handed, transmission of values. A nice combination.
I could imagine reading this children’s book aloud to younger children (5 or 6) but since there is a bit of head-chopping (not real but attempted), it might be better to wait till they are older and can see that it was written in jest. However, if you have a young boy interested in knights, and don’t want to wait for him to grow into the older series, the Knights’ Tales are a great place to start.