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The Squire's Tale

The Squire's Tale

4.7 61
by Gerald Morris

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Growing up an orphan in an isolated cottage in the woods, young Terence never expected much adventure. But upon the arrival of Gawain, his life takes a surprising turn. Gawain is destined to become one of the most famous knights of the Round Table. Terence becomes Gawain's squire and leaves his secluded life for one of adventure in King Arthur's court. In no time


Growing up an orphan in an isolated cottage in the woods, young Terence never expected much adventure. But upon the arrival of Gawain, his life takes a surprising turn. Gawain is destined to become one of the most famous knights of the Round Table. Terence becomes Gawain's squire and leaves his secluded life for one of adventure in King Arthur's court. In no time Terence is plunged into the exciting world of kings, wizards, knights, wars, magic spells, dwarfs, damsels in distress, and enchanters. As he adjusts to his new life, he proves to be not only an able squire but also a keen observer of the absurdities around him. His duties take him on a quest with Gawain and on a journey of his own, to solve the mystery of his parentage. Filled with rapier-sharp wit, jousting jocularity, and chuckleheaded knights, this is King Arthur's court as never before experienced.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jousting, questing and otherwise comporting themselves in the usual fashion of Arthurian knights, Sir Gawain and his companions also exhibit emotional sensitivity and a goofy sense of humor in this medieval comedy. In his first book for young readers, Morris follows Terence, an orphan raised by a magical hermit, as he becomes squire to young Gawain. Through a series of battles and adventures, Terence remains true to his lord. As Gawain learns to love women for their souls instead of for their pretty faces, Terence discovers he has special talents of his own. A knight seems to gain honor by racking up a high body count, and the battle scenes are often funny; for example, Gawain earns his place at the Round Table by killing one rude, hungry and murderous knight while armed only with an empty stew pot. Although women do not quest or battle, Morris refreshes gender roles: Terence is a great cook, ugly women find love and Sir Gawain even cries. This Arthurian adventure is all heartand humor. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
VOYA - Kim Carter
One day fourteen-year-old Terence encounters Gawain, a young man eating a rabbit from one of Terence's snares. After Gawain teaches Terence how to shoot with a bow and arrow, Terence invites him home to dinner. There Gawain is recognized by Trevisant (the hermit who raised Terence and who lives backwards through time) as Sir Gawain, the Maiden's Knight, and the man for whom Terence will serve as squire. Thus begins a series of adventures for Terence and Gawain as they make their way to King Arthur's court, where Gawain is indeed knighted, and sent out on a quest. Encounters with all manner of idiosyncratic characters, including the bloodthirsty maiden Alisoun, lovesick Sir Pelleas, Gawain's trecherous aunt Morgan LeFay, the honorable Sir Marhault and Sir Tor, faery Robin, and the ancient and wise Ganscotter the Enchanter, tell the tales of how Gawain comes to be "The Maiden's Knight," "one whose task is to defend the fairer sex, with courage and honor and with discrimination," and how Terence learns the truth of his ancestry. While exceptional only in its focus on the lesser known Sir Gawain (a knight the author contends Sir Thomas Mallory wrongfully demoted), there is enough silliness, bloodshed, and moral message for The Squire's Tale to serve as an introduction to tales of King Arthur's knights for younger readers. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
Children's Literature - Suzanne Karr
Captivatingly adventurous, with a dash of humor, this Arthurian romp takes amusing liberties with the many legends of Sir Gawain, Knight of the Round Table. Rather than passively retelling these myths, Morris focuses on a character entirely of his own creation, Gawain's inventive squire. Terence, this mysterious orphan, has more than a few hidden gifts, from the visionary to the culinary arts! Terence is an invaluable aid to his master, while completing his own quest of self-discovery. Chock-full of jousts, questing, enchantment and damsels often more distressing than in distress, this novel affectionately presents the difficulties of knighthood and the importance of spirit and intelligence over physical strength.
This is a rather simple yet enjoyable tale of fourteen-year-old Terence's discovery of self amidst the world of King Arthur's court. As an orphan raised by a wise old hermit in the forest, Terence has no idea what his family history is or where he fits in the world. His destiny becomes clearer when Sir Gawain, a renowned knight of the Round Table, passes through the forest and takes Terence on as his squire. Together they embark on a series of adventures where they encounter enchantresses and cross over into the magical "other world" for a while. In the end, Sir Gawain learns that true love comes not from what we see on the surface, but from what we feel from deep within. Terence learns that although he must accept that the roots of his identity come from the "other world," he is completely in charge of choosing where he will lead his life, and how. Although Morris has successfully created endearing characters in Terence and Sir Gawain, the story line itself seems to be quite haphazard. Despite the Author's Note clarifying that each of the adventures is taken from legend, this book cries out for some sort of thread within the story line that truly links one adventure to the next. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1998, Dell/Laurel-Leaf, 212p, 18cm, $4.50. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire M. Dignan; Woburn, MA, July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Terence, the squire in question, is not Chaucer's but a 14 year old of unknown parentage in Arthur's England, raised in the woods by a wizard who can see the future clearly but is foggy about the past. Gawain, not yet of the Round Table, comes across the boy and, needing a squire, takes him along. The story then follows the nobleman through Terence's eyes. New adventures weave through the familiar, threaded on the story of the loathly damsel, here called the "ugly woman," one of the strongest of the Gawain legends. The entertaining action moves rapidly through encounters with fools and villains to Gawain earning knighthood and the love of a smart and worthy woman. His squire, who has recurring visions and contact with an interesting shape-changer, eventually learns the mystery of his own birth and his destiny. Overall, this is a good story, well told, both original and true to the legend of Gawain, counteracting his lesser position in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Readers who savor swashbuckling tales of knighthood will enjoy this adventure. Librarians will find a great choice of comic and breathtaking quests for booktalks.-Helen Gregory, Grosse Pointe Public Library, MI
Horn Book Magazine
An altogether different view of the feats of the often-vilified Sir Gawain, nephew of King Arthur, casts the famous knight in a more flattering light. Told from the point of view of the boy Terence, who is acquired accidentally as Sir Gawain's squire, we observe Sir Gawain's strength of character, kindness to animals, chivalry toward ladies, and subversive sense of humor. Many of Sir Gawain's well-known adventures, including the story of Pelleas and Ettard, the loathly lady, and his friendship with Sir Tor (although not the story of the Green Knight), are woven into the narrative-but with some twists. The author has also taken some liberties with the standard Arthurian canon by the addition of imaginary figures, such as a great magician, Ganscotter, superior even to Merlin, and Terence himself, revealed finally, to his own surprise, to be a powerful sorcerer as well. The author leaves some tantalizing unanswered questions, and the tale is filled with knightly derring-do. Both Sir Gawain and Terence are remarkably engaging figures, holding our attention and affection.
Kirkus Reviews
A 14-year-old boy lives the adventure of being a knight's squire in this novel based on the legends of Camelot. Terence seems a typical youth of medieval England, except for the rumors that he has faeries for parents and a guardian who "remembers" the future. When Sir Gawain offers Terence the chance to become his squire, and to teach him how to become a knight, the lad agrees and soon the pair are on the road. Morris packs his story with plenty of familiar faces, including King Arthur, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake, and the narrative is constructed of events drawn from Arthurian legend. There are plenty of sword fights and flashes of sorcery to delight readers, while the plot moves at a swift clip. Although the tale ends long before Terence earns his knighthood, he does learn the true identity of his parents, especially his father, Ganscotter the Enchanter. An author's note discusses the sources for the novel, providing plenty of additional territory for budding Arthurians to explore. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Squire's Tales , #1
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
File size:
278 KB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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.

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The Squire's Tale (The Squire's Tales Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up one day in the library for a quick read between classes, and I have to say that I loved it. This book is full of dry humor, wit, and sarcasm, and is seriously funny. This is not just a book for children, but a book for the young at heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! It was amazing. It was so funny, really laugh-out-loud. After I finished with a test in my science class, we were told to read quietly while everyone else finished up with their test, and I read this book. BIG mistake! I was laughing (I really couldn't help it) while I was reading it. I forgot I was in science and my teacher had to tell me to be quiet. It was very funny, and so was the second one. I'd recommend this to absolutely anyone, and I do, too. I walk down the street, in stores, at the library, at the zoo, and recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first grabbed this book of a library shelf, I didn't think I'd be very interested but it turned out to be a very comical book. Although the plot is predictable and adventures common in Arthur Tales, the clever dialog and colorful cast make it an enjoyable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book. You only have to read the first sentance to get COMPLETELY involved in it!! Terence was closer to my age so I bonded with him very easily because there is just a connection and he is a real human maybe he never really lived, but he acts real. Gawain is also another great character...I used to like Lancelot, but now I prefer Gawain. Not only do I have respect for Gawain, but I also feel a connection because he too was HUMAN!! There is just something about this book that you just have to love! And now that I know that there are more of these books, I know that more reading awaits... (I would reccomend this to kids 6th grade and up).
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Squire's Tale is a wonderful book that is well written, and it really inspires you in different ways, like to be the best that you can be and to give everything your all, and to trust your judgement, even in the worst situations. This book was greatly written. Gerald Morris can really bring the era of King Arthur alive! I recommend this book to everyone, and I think everyone should give it a try!
PirateQueen More than 1 year ago
I love the Squire's Tale and all of the subsequent books in the series. They include everything I look for in books: adventure, a noble hero, humor, and just a touch of romance. I highly recommend all of the books. I liked the Squire's Tale in particular because it is about Terence, the best character in all of the books. Terence is just starting his journey to his destiny. I loved reading about him learning what it truly means to be a hero. I also loved the twist on classic Arthurian legends. And I do mean legends plural as Gerald Morris mixes and matches the best parts of the stories. I also thought the humor was perfect and though it was somewhat irreverent, it was never too much. I think this is one of the best stories I have read. I recommend it to all, especially those who love fantasy/adventure novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, it is so supr serious and funny at the same time! I would highly recommend this book!
CrystalKira More than 1 year ago
This books has odd language at times where you might need to stop and think for a second what they said but otherwise its a wonderful story. Beautifully written, and you can really get into the mind of the character that is telling the story. You truly get a since of what is going on rather than merely 'watching' or spectating. A great book for any young adult that is unwilling to read. Makes you think.
Keli Lowman More than 1 year ago
Very good book. Sometimes didnt understand it but other than that i loved it.
Yasemin Clark More than 1 year ago
This is the book hat gotbme interwsted in readibg andinterested in arthinean mytology its agreat book both for kids an older readers
duane roberts More than 1 year ago
turtle95 More than 1 year ago
I love this series. Couldnt put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very funny and exciting
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a fun read. It was quick to read, but held my attention all the same. I laughed out loud a lot. I just loved the humor and how the author kept to the original Arthurian tales, but put them in a friendlier, more humorous light! Really fun, a light book to cheer you up. I loved Sir Pelleas's part. I read it over and over to keep me chuckling! Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun book to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LauraPA More than 1 year ago
nice junior read with alot of action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KISA77 More than 1 year ago
I haven't finished the book as of yet, but I cannot wait to read it each day and hate to put it down. Find it to be a very interesting book and makes you feel as if you were really there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A new outlook on King Arthur tales that is written so both children and adults will thoroughly enjoy it. My grandson was taken in by the spell of the tales, moved to both excitement and sadness as the various episodes unfolded in a style not above his level nor below mine. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was drawn into the story immediately and was unable to put it down till the very last. If you love the Arthurian tales as I do you will absolutely love this alternate line following one of his knights... A sure fire pleaser for a lovers of chivalry and adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago