The Mightiest Heart

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Overview

Who can resist a story about a dog who so loved his master that he gave up his life? This exquisitely illustrated tale, based on the legend of Llywelyn, a thirteenth-century Welsh prince, and his loyal hound, Gelert, will keep young readers and listeners spellbound. Laurel Long joins the ranks of todayÆs premier illustrators in her debut, adding incredible power to Lynn CullenÆs spare but emotionally charged text. Each picture is like a precious treasure, revealing painstaking attention to detail, breathtaking ...
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Overview

Who can resist a story about a dog who so loved his master that he gave up his life? This exquisitely illustrated tale, based on the legend of Llywelyn, a thirteenth-century Welsh prince, and his loyal hound, Gelert, will keep young readers and listeners spellbound. Laurel Long joins the ranks of todayÆs premier illustrators in her debut, adding incredible power to Lynn CullenÆs spare but emotionally charged text. Each picture is like a precious treasure, revealing painstaking attention to detail, breathtaking color, and characters whose mutual love transcends the pages of this marvelous book. The Mightiest Heart is sure to be one of the best gifts to give young readers this fall. Lynn Cullen, author of several popular middle-grade novels, researched this story in Wales, where a monument to Gelert still stands. Laurel Long makes an outstanding debut as a picture book illustrator.

Based on a Welsh legend about Prince Llywelyn and his loyal dog Gelert, who is wrongly banished when the prince believes that the dog has attacked his son.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Welsh legend has it that as a boy, 12th-century Prince Llywelyn was blessed with a faithful dog named Gelert, and this strange and sentimental retelling marks novelist Cullen's Stink Bomb; The Backyard Ghost picture book debut. Llywelyn and his canine companion are inseparable until he marries a cold princess and begins to ignore his true-hearted dog. One day, the couple's newborn son is missing and Llywelyn, discovering Gelert near the crib with a bloody mouth, raises his sword to the animal, only to find the infant safe and a dead wolf outside. Gelert then disappears, and Llywelyn is doomed to a life of regret. Later the prince is redeemed when the heroic beast reappears to him in two mysterious ways. Though somewhat stilted language dots the prose "With an anguished roar, Llywelyn attacked Gelert", the period setting and compelling plot will carry readers along. In a remarkable debut, Long crafts oil paintings that resemble medieval tapestries: steeped in a wide array of greens, sprinkled with blood reds and burgundies and teeming with flower and fauna. Her close-up renderings of expressive faces against deep landscapes of rolling hills and turbulent skies give the tale an epic quality. A handsome presentation of a fairy tale with an unusual moral: "The mightiest heart can come in the humblest vessel." Ages 4-up. Oct.
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Dog lovers, as well as those interested in Welsh legends, should be touched and intrigued by this beautifully illustrated and written picture book. In this poignant tale, Prince Liewelyn of Snowdonia learns the hard way that he should have trusted his faithful, old wolfhound, Gelert. The sadness of Gelert's loss is lessened somewhat when the Prince's son finds and adopts Gelert's young son. The intricate, glowing illustrations are in a medieval style that suits the story well. An author's note is included.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Dog lovers and those who enjoy medieval tales will appreciate this retelling of a Welsh legend. Prince Llywelyn grew up with his faithful wolfhound at his side through every adventure. When the prince marries, his wife is not pleased with Gelert and complains that "He makes my gown stink of hound." The dog is banished first from the bedroom and then from the nursery when a child is born. One day when Llywelyn finds an empty cradle and a trail of blood, he falsely accuses Gelert of murder and almost kills the animal. The dog has kept the baby safe from a wolf, but because of Llywelyn's lack of trust, he runs away for good. He reappears long enough to give up his life to save Llywelyn from another wolf, and at story's end, the prince's son finds a puppy in the forest that looks suspiciously like Gelert. Thus, the boy-and-his-dog cycle continues. The rich, deep colors of the oil paintings complement the story's 13th-century setting and provide many details to pore over. They are similar in style and design to those in Paul Zelinsky's Rapunzel Dutton, 1997. The influence of Jan van Eyck can be seen as well, especially in the bridal portrait. The author's note addresses the question of truth in Welsh legends.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day School Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803722927
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.81 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Cullen

Lynn Cullen is the author of the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt's Daughter, an ALA Best Book of 2008, and several other acclaimed books for children. She lives with her husband in Atlanta. Vist her website at www.lynncullen.com

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    AMAZING

    This novel was amazing, and told a story of love and friendship

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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