Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Overview

A witty Arthurian tale receives a wondrous translation by England's Children's Laureate and an award-winning artist.

Think yourself back in years, my friends. . . .

It's New Year's Eve in Camelot, where King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and all their good Knights wait breathlessly for an extravagant feast to begin. Suddenly, a strange and frightening Knight bursts into the hall ? a giant of a man, green from head to toe, who mockingly challenges ...

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2004 Hardcover New, mint condition. Orders are despatched from our UK warehouse next working day. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. ... In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Foreman, Michael Cambridge, MA 2004 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 112 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Overview

A witty Arthurian tale receives a wondrous translation by England's Children's Laureate and an award-winning artist.

Think yourself back in years, my friends. . . .

It's New Year's Eve in Camelot, where King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and all their good Knights wait breathlessly for an extravagant feast to begin. Suddenly, a strange and frightening Knight bursts into the hall — a giant of a man, green from head to toe, who mockingly challenges the Court to a shocking game. Only the chivalrous Sir Gawain dares to take on the hideous Green Knight. But over the unexpected course of his test,
will Gawain prove as brave and honest as he'd like to believe? Welcome to a medieval world full of sword fights and shape-shifting, monsters and magic, and timeless characters both gallant and wonderfully human. Written anonymously in the fourteenth century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is retold in its entirety by Michael Morpurgo in a lively and accessible narration that captures all the tale's drama and humor. Vivid illustrations by the celebrated Michael Foreman infuse this classic tale with the sights and colors of dragons, swords, and medieval pageantry.

The quest of Sir Gawain for the Green Knight teaches him a lesson in pride, humility, and honor.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An award-winning duo teams up for Sir Gawain & the Green Knight. England's children's laureate Michael Morpurgo retells this classic medieval tale with illustrations by Michael Foreman. Morpurgo handles the text with care and gives young readers just enough of the humor and darkness of the original tale without overwhelming them. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A tale of King Arthur's court originally told in the fourteenth century, this story of honor and bravery is well served in a retelling in its entirety by Britain's Children's Laureate. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge of the Green Knight: "Cut off my head and in a year I will cut off yours." But the Green Knight picks up his head and reminds Gawain of his bargain as he rides away. Morpurgo's language makes the tale immediate ("And when I say the man was green, I don't just mean his clothes. I mean him. His face. Green. His hands. Green. The hair that hung down to his shoulders. Green"). His storyteller's sense of pacing and dialog give the tale drama and tension and make it delightful to read aloud. Gawain shows his bravery in defeating numerous monsters on the way to his fated encounter, and finally arrives before the New Year at a cordial host's castle. The host strikes a bargain. He will hunt and give Gawain the results of his day while Gawain will stay at the castle, be a companion to the host's bored wife, and share what he gains there. It is, however, a tale of a young man seduced as the host's wife shows up in his bedroom three times and repeatedly asks him to teach her the art of love. While Gawain remains faithful to his host, and shares the kisses, he holds back a green belt the lady has given him which nearly causes his downfall in his encounter with the Green Knight. Foreman's inconsistent watercolors depict the court and knights as wide-eyed and boyish, the ogres and dragons as remarkable and ugly, but the seduction scenes as sensuously adult. It is jarring to see the vigorous young man rejecting advances of a sensual woman but then appear as a boy later fighting the knight.That aside, the watercolors gleam with color and glow with light and appear frequently enough to delight any middle school reader. Selina Hasting's straightforward retelling (Walker, 1981) features the more consistent depiction of adults by Juan Wijngaard but Morpurgo's vivid and dramatic language eclipses other versions of this story hands down. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 11 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In the vibrant and compelling voice of a storyteller, Morpurgo retells this classic tale. With a lively, page-turning style, he sets the scene as a crude, gigantic stranger rides into King Arthur's hall. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge of the monstrous man and beheads the Green Knight with a single swing of his battle-ax. But then the enchanted knight picks up his severed head and announces that Gawain must, on his honor, meet his dreadful opponent on the next New Year's Day to receive the same blow. Gawain's travels to the Green Chapel at the end of the year, and the temptations he encounters along the way, are the stuff of legend and, like all folklore, are rich in metaphorical meaning about what it means to be human. Morpurgo's sprightly writing brings out all the humor as well as the horror of the original tale, and Foreman's profuse, evocative watercolor-and-pastel illustrations highlight the drama in each scene so that this version can easily be read on two levels-as a rollicking adventure tale or an allegorical saga, depending on the age and inclination of the reader. Selina Hastings's picture-book version (HarperCollins, 1981; o.p.), illustrated by Juan Wijngaard, is a much-abbreviated retelling; Morpurgo's version is notable for including every nuance of this complex and compelling tale.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Morpurgo offers a fluid translation of the 14th-century tale. "Chickens, the lot of you. Worse than chickens too," the anything-but-jolly green giant taunts King Arthur's court, before losing his head to Sir Gawain-then riding away with it cradled in his arm. A year and a day later, after surviving exhausting hardships, hard battles, and a comically discomfiting attempted seduction, Gawain presents himself, as he had promised, to be beheaded in turn. He looks a trifle undersized in Foreman's luminous watercolors, which makes his heroism all the more striking as he confronts challenges to his endurance, his knightly prowess, and his stubbornly held honor. In the end, those qualities earn him a new lease on life, though he discovers himself, as Morpurgo writes, "not as honest or true as he would want himself to have been: much like many of us, I think." Several condensed versions of the story are available for young readers, but enhanced by striking art, plus handsome packaging that includes a text in (perfectly legible) green, this full rendition stands apart. (Folktale. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763625191
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.09 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Morpurgo is the author of more than ninety books, many of which have been adapted for film and television. He has won numerous prizes and awards for his work, including the Smarties Book Prize, the Writer's Guild Award, and both the Whitbread Award and Children's Book Award for his novel THE WRECK OF THE ZANZIBAR. In 2003 he was appointed the third Children's Laureate, a position he founded with the poet Ted Hughes. He lives in Devon, England.

Michael Foreman is one of the world's leading children's book illustrators. He has written and illustrated numerous books and has won many major awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Kurt Maschler Award, and the Bologna Graphics Prize. Among his many picture books are HELLO WORLD, A TRIP TO DINOSAUR TIME, and MICHAEL FOREMAN'S PLAYTIME RHYMES. He lives in London.

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