In the latest installment of The Knights’ Tales, Gerald Morris turns the story of Gawain and the Green Knight into a lesson on the importance of chivalry; specifically, being courteous.
I realize this doesn’t make a great deal of sense. However, in my humble opinion, the story of Gawain didn’t make any sense to start with, regardless of the countless drivel that has been produced under the guise of literary criticism (I am not a fan of Arthurian legends or fantasies) so this could only be an improvement. Morris manages to smooth over the *cough* less appropriate nuances of the tale and create a funny story with adventure, interesting characters, and a legendary flavor. It even makes a weird kind of sense, which is more than I can say for the original story. If you’re going to retell Gawain, especially as a beginning chapter book, this is as good as it’s going to get! I doubt any kids will become more polite as a result of reading this tale, but they will enjoy a fun read and maybe even go digging for more Arthurian tales.
It’s still a weird, weird, story though.
Verdict: I wouldn’t buy this one on its own, but if you’re doing the Knights’ Tales, this is the next in the series and you’ll need it. I really, really loved Sir Lancelot the Great and Sir Givret the Short and I’m looking forward to another…more conventional story along those lines.
ISBN: 9780547418551; Published April 2011 by Houghton Mifflin; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter; Purchased for the library.