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The Adventures of Sir Gawain The True
The Adventures of Sir Gawain The True by Gerald Morris
by Gerald Morris
Illustrated by Aaron Renier

Sir Gawain, a knight in King Arthur's court, has a reputation.   He is Sir Gawain the Undefeatable. He saves damsels from dragons.  He wins tournaments.  But now, Sir Gawain faces a new kind of challenge when, one Christmas feast, the Green Knight challenges him to meet blow for blow.    When Gawain chops off his head, the game gets more serious.  In a year's time, Gawain must meet the Green Knight at the Green Chapel so that the Green Knight can return the blow.  Will Gawain keep his word?  Through several adventures, Sir Gawain learns that knighthood means more than being undefeated.

In SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE, Gerald Morris instills his own storytelling skills and humor into the medieval tale SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, making medieval literature come alive in the hearts of new generations.  At times his version diverges from the medieval text.  At times, Gerald Morris steps back to make fun of some of the traditions and assumptions of chivalry, and yet, in the end, the story itself exemplifies these values, such as the medieval concept of trothe.  Many of the values underlying Sir Gawain's adventures are indeed appropriate for young readers.  Sir Gawain learns the value of friendship, keeping one's word and courtesy/respect for others.

SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a great, fun story for young readers.  The pace is lively, the storytelling excellent and the characters memorable.  Aaron Renier's black and white illustrations enrich the story's humor as well as the characterization and the landscape.  SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a marvelous way to introduce the joy of the classics to young readers.  SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is full of adventure, honor, and all those things that have enchanted Arthurian fans throughout the centuries.  Gerald Morris gives the tales just the right twist for readers of today.

Although SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE has a target audience of young readers, I highly recommend this and all of Gerald Morris's Arthurian tales to all medievalists and Arthurian enthusiasts.  Gerald Morris's tales, SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE included, make one fall in love with medieval literature all over again.  In some ways, he is faithful to the source material, but thankfully not in a slavish fashion.  Those who have read and reread SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT over and over, like myself, will easily notice some of the differences between the medieval version and Gerald Morris's version but the differences are also what make the story so much fun.   If you are looking for a slavish word for word translation, go elsewhere.  If however, you enjoy a great story retold in new ways, SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a keeper for the bookshelves!  Indeed, in retelling classic Arthurian tales while instilling in the tales his own unique gift of storytelling, Gerald Morris makes the Arthurian world come alive again.  Of course, retelling and recreating, is in itself faithful to the medieval spirit.  Superb!

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 18, 2011)
Reading Level: Ages 6-9
Series: The Knight's Tales

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Copyright Merrimon Crawford  2011 All Rights Reserved