The Sword in the Stone

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Overview

The Sword in the Stone is the first novel in The Once and Future King, T. H. White's epic fantasy re-telling of the Arthurian legend. A cartoon adaptation by Walt Disney made it into an enduring favourite for the young. But like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, it appeals to adults and children alike. Here is an abridged version for Junior Classics readers.

A retelling of the Arthurian legend.

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Overview

The Sword in the Stone is the first novel in The Once and Future King, T. H. White's epic fantasy re-telling of the Arthurian legend. A cartoon adaptation by Walt Disney made it into an enduring favourite for the young. But like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, it appeals to adults and children alike. Here is an abridged version for Junior Classics readers.

A retelling of the Arthurian legend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Neville Jason's approach, he says, is to be "humble to the material" he is working with and to let the "powers of absorption work." It is apt that in this classic retelling of the King Arthur legend, the wizard Merlin often teaches the boy Arthur (aka Wart) by changing him into other creatures-a fish, a bird-to learn by absorption, by being, with empathy being the least of the lessons taught. It is a perfect fit of sensibilities. Jason, who was awarded the Diction Prize by Sir John Gielgud at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, delivers fully developed characters with such warmth and spark that listeners are instantly transported to Sir Ector's castle. Originally written in 1938, this audiobook is perfect for any J.K. Rowling fan, as its humor, intellect and playfulness feels as contemporary as a Harry Potter novel. In fact, Rowling has described White's Wart as "Harry's spiritual ancestor." Combined with the brilliant performance by Jason, what more could a fantasy fan want? (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
The "Wart" is an unlikely name for the boy who would become King Arthur. Guided by his tutor, the wizard Merlyn, this boy proves his wisdom, courage, intelligence, and compassion—traits evidenced from an early age that are way beyond his years—and traits that will serve him well as King . But like most boys, the Wart is curious, sociable, and loves adventure. He lives with his guardian Sir Ector, and Kay, Sir Ector's son, in a castle in the Forest Sauvage. No one knows who the Wart's parents were and this troubles the boy for several reasons. Naturally, he wonders about them, but he is also sad because a boy with unknown parentage cannot become a gallant "knight." From an early age, the Wart knows that he will only be a Squire, but that Kay is destined for knighthood. Enter Merlyn. The wizard Merlyn is living his life backwards. Since he has experienced the future, he knows the boy will pull the sword out of the anvil stuck outside the church to become England's next king. So his lessons, seemingly fanciful (changing the Wart into a fish and a bird, and taking him into the forest to see a giant), present challenges and opportunities to test the boy's mettle. Wouldn't any listener leap at the chance to meet Robin Hood, and join him in a daring forest rescue? And wouldn't any listener love to meet knights and kings and witches? Or become invisible? Learn how to joust? Talk to snakes? Fly with hawks? Some of the stories are quite lively and engaging. However, listeners may find their minds wandering during the sequences that are peppered with King Pellinor's shaky voice and repetitive language quirks (he ends most of his sentences with "what?"). Listeners able to stick with thewhole eight discs will be rewarded by the final passage when the modest, unassuming Wart triumphs over all by securing the sword. The funny thing is, he isn't trying to become king. He is trying to supply his friend Kay with a sword so that Kay may vie for the kingdom. The Wart is a worthy protagonist. This title, which is unabridged, is one in "The Complete Classics" series. Eight CDs play for a total time of nine hours, 41 minutes and 19 seconds. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399225024
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Edition description: Illustrated
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 92,970
  • Age range: 9 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

T. H. White is the author of the classic Arthurian fantasy The Once and Future King, among other works.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2001

    gotta' love it

    one of the greatest book of all time

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2000

    Great work of art

    This book not only tells a more complete story of walt disney's movie but puts more detail into it it also brings more understanding to this fictional book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    The Sword in the Stone Review The Sword in the Stone was create

    The Sword in the Stone Review The Sword in the Stone was created
    seventy- four years ago in 1938 by Terence Hanbury (T.H.) White. White
    was born on May 29, 1906. He was born in Bombay, India. His father was
    one of the members of the Indian Civil Service. T.H. was educated at
    Cheltenham and went to college at Queen’s College, Cambridge. He died in
    1964 when he was 57 years old. Surgeons said it was probably from acute
    coronary heart disease. The Sword in the Stone was written in the ever
    so popular fantasy genre. It included elements of wizardry and magic,
    but also kept the traditional King Arthur tale. The book is primarily
    meant for middle school kids because it is too complicated for
    elementary students and too simple for high school teenagers and above
    in my opinion. The book was written to give the readers an idea of what
    King Arthur’s childhood might have been like. This book is for anyone
    who would like to increase their knowledge in King Arthur and is
    adolescent adventures. The title was inspired by the sword in the stone
    scene towards the end of T.H. White’s book. The Sword in the Stone is a
    good title that easily goes with the book because when one thinks about
    King Arthur, he or she wonders about the famous sword in the stone. The
    cover of the book was exceedingly interesting because it shows the
    relationship between Merlin and the future King of England. It made me
    want to read the book because it shows Merlin as a very intriguing
    character. The font was great because it wasn’t too big or too small.
    The characters were very appealing, but I couldn’t relate to them
    because I don’t live in England, I am not a wizard, and I don’t have a
    tutor. The main idea of the book was Wart (the future King Arthur)
    learning life lessons and relating to different creatures. The writing
    style was great, because T.H. White’s word choice wasn’t too primitive
    or too advanced. I would also say the same for the sentence structure.
    He also provided some mild humor here and there. The main idea of the
    book was supported well by the story. Some highlights of the story are
    the fight against the Anthropophagi and when Wart pulls the sword out of
    the stone. Sadly there were not any quotes that were meaningful to me.
    Now it is time for my analysis: The book is set in medieval times and
    there are knights, dragons, and castles. There are also witches,
    wizards, and other magic things. I hope this paints a wonderful picture
    for the reader. My favorite character was the mystical Merlin, because
    he can transport himself places and he has magical items. He can also
    turn himself into other creatures. My favorite scene is the battle
    between Merlin and Madame Mim. The Sword in the Stone appealed to me as
    a light-hearted adventure book. My favorite aspect of the work was the
    comic relief provided by Merlin. The bottom line is this is a great book
    for students in middle school, but I would not promote it to any other
    age group.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2009

    A Classic

    I first read T.H. White's series "The Once and Future King" many years ago, and some of his descriptive language had stayed with me all that time. I just listened to it again on audiobook and enjoyed it immensely. The writing is first rate, often laugh-out-loud funny, and deeply philosophical. Readers who find "The Sword in the Stone" boring may not have the attention span or maturity to appreciate the artistry of this book.

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great Coming of Age Story

    I loved The Sword in the Stone. I watched the Disney movie before I read the novel and I loved that too. However, the book is a lot different from the movie and even though I know the story I still enjoyed it immensely. The book is about a boy named Wart who lives with Sir Ector and his son, Kay, in a castle. Wart never knew his real parents, but Sir Ector treats him like a son and Kay is a brother to him. Wart's adventures begin when he is lost in the woods and stumbles upon the cottage of the wizard Merlyn. Merlyn ends up accompanying the Wart home and becomes his and Kay's tutor. Merlyn makes learning fun for the boys and is an often humorous character; his spells don't alwasys turn out quite right. Wart recieves a special education from Merlyn, gaining lots of knowledge as the wizard turns him into various animals. It seems like the reader is right there with Wart growing up as he goes on countless adventures and meets interesting people. There are wizard duels and talking trees; Robin Wood and his band of merry outlaws; boar hunts and wicked witches. One of my favorite characters was King Pellinore, a goodnatured knight fated to go on a quest after the Beast Glatisant for his whole life. The story is exciting and funny and Wart is a very lovable, human character. I can see why this book is a classic- the themes are universal and anyone can enjoy this. The ending left me eager to read the next three installments that make up The Once and Future King.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    This is ok

    The Sword in the Stone By: T.H. White All young Arthur ¿Wart¿ wanted was to find a sword for his master, Kay. Little does he know that he will become one of England¿s greatest rulers. In the story ¿The Sword in the Stone¿, Young Wart learns the way all animals live life, from personal experience, and how to be a gentleman thanks to his magical tutor Merlyn. I thought this book was okay because I did not understand a lot of the words so it was difficult to read. One part I liked about the story was when Wart and Kay met Robin Wood (it¿s Wood instead of Hood.) I thought that that was a good adventure because they had to sneak inside the evil Queen¿s castle to save Friar Tuck, Dog Boy, Wat, and Wart¿s dog. I thought it was cool when Robin, Wart and Robin¿s band of ¿Villians¿ fought the Griffins and Wyverns. Another thing, I liked was the character King Pellinore. I thought he was humorous, because he¿d always say ¿What?¿ at the end of his sentences. Also, it was weird how he would just take off after the Questing Beast. I liked how Pellinore was obsessed with feather beds. Another thing I liked was the adventure with Galapass the Giant. When Wart and Merlyn went to Galapass¿ castle it was cool how they had to be quiet so as not to be heard or seen. It was funny when all of Gallapasses prisoners called him ¿fatty!¿ It was also weird when the Questing Beast chased Gallapass all around his castle. This book was good and I recommend this to anyone who doesn¿t mind thinking. My favorite part of this story was when Wart pulled the sword out of the stone. He was completely clueless about the sword and what would happen to him. It was interesting when all of Wart¿s ¿friends¿ came and re-told him what they fought him. All of Wart¿s lessons were leading up to Wart pulling the sword out of the stone. J.Fisher

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2006

    Arthur is better as a King

    This book was OK. I had to read it for school and it was HORRIBLE! But after reading it for the second time, I came to appreciate the inner-moral of the story. You really have read between the lines to understand this story of young King Arthur.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2006

    well

    This is a good book, you have to read between the lines to get the lessions. The Movie does NOTHING, it takes everything and turns it around. In the book Kay is nice to Wart AKA King Arthur and treats him kindly even though everyone knows they are not blood brothers. In the movie however Kay is stupid, slow, big, and mean to Arthur. I don't recommend the movie but the book is a good read if you look at the messages behind it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    Great Spin On Young King Arthur!

    This is a great book that peeks into the life of a Young King Arthur. Disney did a pretty good job with the animated movie, though most the stuff in the movie happens in the first few chapters. Truthfully this story has no real plot, but is a most interesting read. The novel centers around 'Wart's' (Young King Arthur) education under Merlyn, the magician. A series of delightful adventures that ends brilliantly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2005

    disgustingly horable!!!!!

    this book puts shame to the great story of King Aurthur!!!! how any one can stand reading this book I do not know. It was painful to read this book. it goes on forever withiout end. after reading this I felt like my imagination was drained! how can T.H. White live with himself after writing this book?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2005

    WORST BOOK I EVER READ

    THIS IS THE WORST BOOK I EVER READ. It is generous to give this book a star because it is so borring and bad. If I could I would give it a -10 it was so bad. I enjoy to read and I enjoy books but this book was boring and stupid. Every chapter is based off of the same set up and the characters are stupid idiots who you never care about the whole book and feel no relationship. King Arthor is like a whiny little brat the whole book who asks Merlin to turn him into an animal. T.H. White brakes the record for the worlds WORST book ever. Don't waste your time reading this book, there are many other books to read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2005

    Excellent!!!

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. I like it because it has plenty of action and also gives a very descriptive and detailed account of the legendary story of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone. Anyone who enjoys reading this as much as I have should also read T.H.White's 'The Once and Future King' which continues the story started in the 'Sword in the Stone'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2005

    A Great Read for Jr. High Schoolers

    The Sword in the Stone goes beyond the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. There is much more to this classic tale. Young Arthur, or the Wart, meets strange people, creatures, and challenges aided by Merlin the Magician. From these extrodinary experiences, the Wart learns the important lesson of looking at things from different points of view. The book explains that wisdom is better than physical stength. With its complex vocabulary and detailed descriptions, this book is perfect for a junior high student looking for a challenging read. Get this book because just as the Wart gains knowledge that will help him to be a wise ruler, you can learn things to help you in your future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2003

    The Sword in the Stone

    The Sword in the Stone Laurel Leaf, reissue edition Oct 15 1978 288 PP $5.99 T.H. White ISBN 0440984459 The Wart, an adventurous, smart boy, is beginning to fulfill his destiny to become the King of Medieval England. With the help of Merlyn, the magician who lives backwards through time, The Wart will fulfill his destiny. The Wart leaves the castle to do falconry. He finds a field and lets the falcon fly, but it flies into a tree at the edge of the forest. The Wart chases after the falcon into the forest for a while until he realizes he himself is lost. He decides to wait until morning to find his way out. The Wart wakes up and begins to travel in the direction that he thinks he came. The Wart stumbles upon Merlyn at the magician¿s cabin. This is the first time The Wart meets Merlyn, who trains him in falconry, swordsmanship, jousting and other things. Seven years later the King of England dies with no heir to his throne. At the same time a sword in a stone is found in London with a plaque reading ¿He whom pulls this sword from this stone is the destined King of England.¿ Kay, The Wart¿s older brother, decides to enter this tournament, but he has forgotten his sword at the inn. He sends The Wart to go and fetch it, but when he arrives at the inn it is closed. He notices the sword in the stone and pulls it out. Not realizing what he has done and why everyone is cheering, he becomes confused and begins to cry. Later The Wart is crowned King, but from now on he will be known as King Arthur. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about Medieval England. I loved this book because it¿s full of adventure. You never know what is going to happen next. - A Sixth Grader

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2002

    Can't find words to discribe it!

    The sword in the stone is writen about the middle ages, but in a way that people from modern times can understand it. That is because, unlike many people think, it was only writen in the late 1930s. The book gets kind of slow at parts, but makes up for it by having very fast exciting parts too. I would have liked him to go on more with what Wart does once he is king, and how he grows into the role of king, after trained to be a squire, White probably goes into that in the next book, 'The Once and Future King.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2001

    A great story!

    This book can be enjoyed by all ages. It has adventure, magic, and a wonderful story that anyone will love. I fell in love with is book the first time I read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

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