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The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True

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"Enhanced by Renier's lighthearted medieval scenes . . . Morris's yarn weaves clever turns, knightly violence and chivalric (i.e., human) values in action into an ingeniously integrated retelling of Gawain and the Green Knight."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

In the third installment in the Knights' Tales series, Gerald Morris tells the laugh-out-loud tale of King Arthur's most celebrated knight, and nephew, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. With lively ...

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The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True

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"Enhanced by Renier's lighthearted medieval scenes . . . Morris's yarn weaves clever turns, knightly violence and chivalric (i.e., human) values in action into an ingeniously integrated retelling of Gawain and the Green Knight."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

In the third installment in the Knights' Tales series, Gerald Morris tells the laugh-out-loud tale of King Arthur's most celebrated knight, and nephew, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. With lively illustrations by Aaron Renier, Morris creates a captivating and comical medieval world that teems with humor and wonder.


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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Sir Gawain is one of King Arthur's bravest knights and has never been defeated in battle, but can be a bit full of himself. When he rescues a damsel from the clutches of a fiery dragon, he will take no thanks from her—not a gentle kiss on the cheek, nor a scarf from round her neck. He leaves her alone in the midst of the forest, not even asking her name. Upon hearing of his not-so-courteous manner, King Arthur chides him and Sir Gawain realizes his mistake. Soon after, at a Christmas feast, an enormous green knight thunders into the hall and challenges Sir Gawain to a fight—a blow for blow contest. Sir Green Knight allows Sir Gawain the first blow, ordering him to whack his green neck with a very sharp axe, which leaves Sir Green with his head rolling around on the floor. Turns out Sir Green is a sorcerer quite accustomed to picking up his head and reuniting it with his body. So Sir Gawain is now bound to meet the giant knight in a year hence to receive the return blow. In a series of adventures, the King and his knights meet several unusual people who seem oddly similar to one another through speech or mannerisms and each teaches them something about courtesy. In the end Sir Gawain realizes this has all been a plot devised to make amends for his rude behavior towards the damsel he rescued. The story is well told, with gentle humor and a nice message, and the cartoonish illustrations add to the humor. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
From the Publisher
"An ingeniously integrated retelling of Gawain and the Green Knight and other episodes from the Arthurian canon. Worthy reading for all budding squires and damsels."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great

"Rejoice, fans of the Squire’s Tales, Morris is finally bringing his terrific recastings of Arthurian legend to a younger audience...More, please."—Kirkus, starred review

"The art catches the tone of the writing in the often-amusing ink drawings. A promising series debut for young readers."—Booklist

"The book's brevity and humor make it accessible to reluctant readers, and it is a fantastic read-aloud."—School Library Journal

"This trim novel, with simple vocabulary and brief, witty chapters, is an ideal fit for early readers...but fans of the legendary characters may find particular delight in this irreverent and unabashedly silly exploration of Arthur's court and his most influential knight."—The Bulletin

The Adventures of Sir Givret the Short

"...sure to please young readers enamored with medieval derring-do."—School Library Journal


The Adventures of Sir Gawain The True

"Broad humor, graced with lively language will have readers laughing along with this boisterous Arthurian adventure."—Yellow Brick Road

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547418551
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/18/2011
  • Series: The Knights' Tales Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

When Gerald Morris was in fifth grade he loved Greek and Norse mythology and before long was retelling the stories to his younger sister and then to neighborhood kids. He began carrying a notebook in which he kept some of the details related to the different stories. The joy he found in retelling those myths continued when he discovered other stories. According to Gerald Morris, “I never lost my love of retelling the old stories. When I found Arthurian literature, years later, I knew at once that I wanted to retell those grand tales. So I pulled out my notebook . . . I retell the tales, peopling them with characters that I at least find easier to recognize, and let the magic of the Arthurian tradition go where it will.” Gerald Morris lives in Wausau, Wisconsin, with his wife and their three children. In addition to writing he serves as a minister in a church.

Aaron Renier was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and attended art school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He's drawn comics as far back as he can remember, and today he has found a very vibrant and supportive community of cartoonists in Chicago, where he currently resides. Renier is the recipient of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, and received a nomination for best Children's Album in 2005.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Sir Gawain the Undefeated

Now, everyone who knows anything at all about knights knows that they used to dress in metal suits and bash each other off their horses with pointy sticks called lances. This only makes sense,
of course. Anyone who happened to have a metal suit, a horse, and a pointy stick would do the same.
 Some may have also heard that knights fought dragons as well, often to rescue damsels. (Damsels are what they used to call women. Don’t ask why;
they just did.) This is less sensible, because—Well,
really now! What would a dragon want with a damsel? Still, if a dragon did for some reason make off with one, then it would be perfectly reasonable for a knight to rescue her.
 But what many do not realize is that, at least in
King Arthur’s court, knights were also expected to be courteous and respectful. The king was very clear about this: He wanted no bullies at his
Round Table. In fact, he said that courtesy was even more important than wearing metal suits and bashing people from horses. Not surprisingly,
this notion took a while to sink in. Knights who had spent their whole lives learning swordsmanship and pointy-stick-bashing did not always see how something else could be more important.
Indeed, King Arthur had reigned for several years before he felt that his knights were starting to get the idea.
 During those early years, the most celebrated of King Arthur’s knights was his nephew Sir Gawain.
Sir Gawain had won so many tournaments—
which is what knights called the contests where they did all that bashing—that he was called Sir Gawain the Undefeated. One day, as Sir
Gawain the Undefeated was riding through a forest,
he heard a loud scream and a ferocious roar.
Sir Gawain urged his horse forward and soon came upon a huge black lizard that was holding a damsel in one scaly, knobby claw.
 “Whatever does a dragon want with a damsel?”
wondered Sir Gawain. The idea seemed absurd to him as well.
 But Sir Gawain did not have time for philosophical questions, because at that moment the dragon roared again, sending a ball of fire into the air, and the damsel screamed. Sir Gawain charged. It was a fierce battle, which took quite a long time, and an onlooker would doubtless have found it gripping to watch. For some reason,
though, secondhand blow-by-blow accounts of battles are not nearly so interesting as the things themselves, so it won’t hurt anything to skip ahead here. What matters is that when the fight was over, the dragon lay dead at Sir Gawain’s feet.
 “Hooray!” shouted Sir Gawain triumphantly. “I
won again!”
 “Oh, thank you, Sir Knight!” cried the damsel.
“You saved my life!”
 “Yes, I suppose I did,” agreed Sir Gawain. “By the way, do you have any idea why the dragon captured you?”
 “What difference does that make?” the damsel replied. “He was an evil creature.”
 “Just wondering,” Sir Gawain said.
 “What matters is that you saved me, Sir
Knight,” the damsel repeated.
  “Not Sir Knight,” Sir Gawain corrected. “I’m Sir
Gawain. Sir Gawain the Undefeated.”
 “I’m ever so grateful to you, Sir Gawain.”
 “Yes, I suppose you are,” Sir Gawain replied. He turned back to the dragon’s corpse and gazed at it with satisfaction. “It was quite a fight, wasn’t it?
Did you see how the lizard tried to get behind me but I reversed my lance? A very tricky bit of lancemanship, let me tell you!”
 “Er, quite,” said the damsel.
 “And how, when it shifted to my weak side, I
tossed my sword to my left hand? Not everyone can do that, you know.”
 “Very clever of you, I’m sure.” The damsel’s smile was smaller now. “Sir Gawain, to thank you for your service, I would like to give you a gift:
this green sash.” The woman began to remove a gleaming strip of green silk from her waist. “Wear this as a reminder of your victory, and—”
  “Oh, I shan’t forget this victory,” Sir Gawain said.
 “But this is a special sash. As long as you wear it—”
 “I really don’t have a place for a sash,” Sir Gawain said. “Why don’t you keep it?”
 “Oh,” the damsel said. “Well . . . if you wish. But
I want to thank you somehow. Perhaps it would be enough if I gave you a kiss on the cheek, just to—”
 “I say!” interrupted Sir Gawain. “You don’t think that just because I saved your life we’re, you know, in love or something, do you?”
 “Because a lot of girls might think that, but really I would have saved any damsel. It didn’t have to be you. Besides, I’m not looking for a lady of my own right now.”
 “A lady of your own? ” gasped the damsel. “I never said—”
 “Nothing personal, of course,” Sir Gawain said hurriedly. “I’m sure you’ll make a very nice lady for someone someday. It’s just that I’m not in the market for romance at the moment.”
 “Of all the . . . All I wanted to do was show you my gratitude!”
 Suddenly remembering King Arthur’s lectures on courtesy, Sir Gawain bowed and said, “You’re very welcome,” then turned his horse and rode away. He was already thinking about how he would tell the tale of his great victory once he got back to the
Round Table.
 The story was a success. Sir Gawain held the court spellbound as he recounted his defeat of the horrible dragon, even during the duller bits when he described his lancemanship. But when he told about his conversation with the damsel after the battle, King Arthur sat up.
 “Do you mean to say, Gawain,” the king asked,
“that the lady tried to give you a token of thanks and you refused it?”
 “Well, yes.”
 “So then she asked if she could give you one kiss on the cheek, and you turned that down as well?”
 “I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea, you see.”
 “And I gather that you told her your name but never asked for hers?”
 Sir Gawain blinked. The king was right. He had no idea who the lady was.
 “And then,” King Arthur concluded, “you rode away, leaving her alone, on foot, in the forest?”
 For a moment, Sir Gawain was silent. “I didn’t think about that,” he admitted, frowning. “That wasn’t . . . wasn’t my best choice, was it?”
 King Arthur shook his head.
 “I did say ‘You’re welcome,’” Sir Gawain said.
“‘Very welcome,’ I think.”
 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.

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Table of Contents



Sir Gawain the Undefeated 1


The Green Knight 11


Spinagras the Dwarf 22


Gologras’s Castle 35


Sir Gologras the Unconquered 45


A Fairly Useless Tournament 55


Sir Gawain the Once Defeated



Saying Goodbye 82


Sir Bredbaddle the Huntsman 92


Sir Gawain the True 105

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Sir Gawain the True Learns New Ways to Deal Besides the Sword

    Sir Gawain the Undefeated is riding comfortably upon his horse when he hears the shrieks of a damsel in distress. A dragon with fiery breath has captured the fair maiden. Sir Gawain fights off the dragon, saving the damsel. No longer in distress, Sir Gawain decides the she no longer needs his assistance and begins to ride off. The damsel is so thankful that she wants to give Sir Gawain her treasured green sash. He refuses to accept. She then offers a kiss on the check, simply to say thank you. Again, Sir Gawain refuses and rides off, leaving the damsel where he found her. This is the precursor to the rest of the story.

    In King Author's court, he requires his knights to be comfortable iron suits and sharp swords, just like any knight. They must also be courteous and respectful while doing their knightly duties. After relating the dragon fight, at dinner that night, Sir Gawain is flabbergasted to learn of his rudeness. The King thought it rude Sir Gawain refused the damsel's gift of thanks not once, but twice. Shameful knight behavior.

    Later, at the Christmas Feast, the Green Knight crashes the party to challenge a knight, specifically Sir Gawain, to a strange dual. Sir Gawain is to go first. He swings and knocks the Green Knight's head clean off his neck. The Green Knight will strike Sir Gawain, in the same fashion, in exactly one year. As the year goes by, Sir Gawain and the King decide the Green Knight must have used magic. How else could his head continue to speak after it was severed from his neck? King Arthur and his knights leave the kingdom in search of the great Merlin the Enchanter. If anyone can help Sir Gawain keep his head attached, it is Merlin.

    While on the trip, the King and his knights run into several interesting characters on their way to their final destination: Green Chapel. Here, Sir Gawain will face the Green Knight for what may be his last challenge. On their trip, the King and his knights will run into a strange dwarf, sorcerers, and a stubborn nobleman, but not everyone is who they profess to be. In the end, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table will have had their abilities to fight and their manners both tested. One of those two will prove to be the better weapon. Reading the story and meeting these characters is so much fun, revealing any more would ruin it for everyone else.

    Sir Gawain the True is the third knight to get his own story in Mr. Morris' Knight Tales Series. First was Sir Lancelot the Great and then Sir Givret the Short. As with the first two editions, the story is witty, fun and a great addition to reluctant readers' libraries. The sentences and words are at the 8 to 10 year-old-level, though occasionally there will be a word that might require a dictionary. The chapters are short and fast to read. The pacing is such that it is difficult to become bored at any one point.

    This is a fun, short, chapter book boys will love to read. The illustrations are line drawings and enhance the story. The fight scene collage is especially funny. Speaking of fighting, none of the fight scenes are gory or gruesome. The sword fights in the pages of Sir Gawain the True are G-rated. Mothers will love the story for the King's emphasis on courtesy, respect, honoring oaths, and the value of friendships.

    Note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

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    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo

    Gerald Morris' THE KNIGHTS' TALES are a fun way to escape for a few hours. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is the third installment in this series. Sir Gawain is known as "the undefeated." He is tired of this title, but because it is what he is known as, when a battle comes up and King Arthur needs someone to win, it is Sir Gawain who is called up. Sir Gawain returns to the court to recount a story of saving a damsel from a dragon. But when he is asked how he treated the damsel, he is dumbstruck. The damsel tried to thank him by bestowing a green sash on him, as well as a kiss on the cheek. But he refused both. During a feast, a strange Green Knight appears at the Court. The knight challenges anyone to a game. Of course, being undefeated, King Arthur requests Sir Gawain to compete. The knight tells Sir Gawain to first strike a blow, and then he will do the same. Simple enough? Well, the knight wants Sir Gawain to strike an axe blow to his neck. Sir Gawain does as requested, and all are stunned when the knight picks his head up off the floor, tells Sir Gawain to appear at the Green Chapel on New Year's Day, and leaves. Sir Gawain knows that this will be the death of him, but he agrees. King Arthur can't let his undefeated knight die, so he sends a group out to find Merlin, in hopes of finding a way to avoid Sir Gawain's death. Instead, the group meets Sir Gologras. If you've read the other books in the series, then you will know that there are more surprises in store for King Arthur's group. Sir Gologras may not be who he seems. I don't want to give away the surprise ending, so I will stop there with my synopsis. But have no fear. As with the previous works in this series, there are many laughs and surprising moments on each page. I found myself laughing out loud a number of times. And that's quite impressive, considering the story is only 126 pages long. Pick up THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE for a fun time.

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  • Posted January 19, 2011

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    Great Book for the Round Table lover!

    I am a huge fan of most Arthurian books, especially childrens versions. I think this was a wonderfully done story on Sir Gawain and how he became a better knight and a better man by learning some valuable lessons. The story line was easy to follow, the story was fun and mysterious, and the children can learn valuable lessons from this story. This is the third in a series, and I would recommend this to readers who are learning how to read chapter books, and even for older children who are inte...moreI am a huge fan of most Arthurian books, especially childrens versions. I think this was a wonderfully done story on Sir Gawain and how he became a better knight and a better man by learning some valuable lessons. The story line was easy to follow, the story was fun and mysterious, and the children can learn valuable lessons from this story. This is the third in a series, and I would recommend this to readers who are learning how to read chapter books, and even for older children who are interested in King Arthur in any way.

    The artwork in this book was well done, but not overly done. I think books geared toward this age group tend to provide too many illustrations and not challenging the imaginations of the readers. This book did a great job of providing an illustration for some main points, but left the rest of it to the child's imagination. This is a great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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