Thursday, October 9, 2014

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (Illustrated Classics) by Marcia Williams (Walker Books)


King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Written and Illustrated by
Marcia Williams

Published by Walker Books

Marcia Williams' books are the perfect introduction to historical stories that children might find daunting and a tough read in other forms. She draws brilliant little characters and lays her books out almost in a comic-strip style to help youngsters absorb the subject matter eagerly.

We have previously talked about how difficult it can be to introduce children to the complexities of Arthurian legend. Usborne's fantastic "Sticker Dressing King Arthur" took the approach of laying out fairly simplified versions of the scenes, with stickers to help children engage with the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Here in Marcia's book, it's the humour that carries the tales along rather nicely. So many details are crammed in amongst the main text and images, and it's quite a hoot to read all the little speech bubbles as various characters chip in with their ten penneth.

Starting from the origins, with Arthur pulling the sword from the stone and eventually being recognised as the One True King of Ancient Britain, children are utterly thrilled as the legend weaves tempestuous tales of rivalry, chivalry and derring-do.

If you mention "Knight" to most children, they'll talk about Mike the Knight or Sir Charlie Stinky Socks (we love SCSS btw!) Here though is something that will give them a really good jumping-off point to a real-life legend, and encourage them to delve into the myths to divide fact from fiction in a rather absorbing way. We look forward to seeing more of Marcia's brilliant work.

Charlotte's best bit: As with the Usborne sticker book, she loves the idea of The Lady of the Lake and Excalibur, but also wanted to know more about Morgan Le Fay and why she was such a nasty piece of work!

Daddy's Favourite bit: We nabbed this one from the library as soon as we saw it, and it's been a fantastic introduction to arthurian legend. We really want to read more of Marcia's fun history range so we'll be scanning the library for more!

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