“This book is a great purchase for storytellers and lovers of medieval tales alike.”
–Montreal Review of Books
“The stories are all interesting and have many elements that would appeal to young readers…”
“The illustrations are striking… Tales of Court and Castle is recommended for both public and school libraries…”
“The late Joan Bodger’s voice still mesmerizes…. Bodger recreates the flavour of the tales…. Excellent read-alouds.”
–The Toronto Star
This collection of stories comes out of the ancient oral tradition when stories enchanted listeners in the great halls of castles as well as by the fire in snug huts. In the style of the ancient bards, Ms. Bodger, a consummate storyteller, retells the Celtic tales of Tristan, Childe Rowland, Iron John, Burd Janet, the Brown Bull of Coolee, and the Roman emperor and the Welsh princess so that they are a joy to read or to tell. Mr. Setterington's introduction is as evocative as the stories themselves. He describes how Ms. Bodger told him the story of Tristan's youth at the site of an ancient castle in Cornwall and of Tristan's death by the fireside of a 14th century inn. The black and white woodcut illustrations add just the right atmosphere to the age-old stories. Ms. Bodger, who, studied story-telling at Columbia University, died in 2002. She was author of many books for adults as well as children (and books like this that are for all ages.). She once described her writings as "playing in a shaft of sunlight filled with cosmic dust, and that my playthings are bits and pieces of myth." She attributed her ability to survive the many difficulties she encountered in life to her sense of story. 2003, Tundra Books, Ages 8 to adult.
Janet Crane Barley
Gr 4-8-Bodger's last children's book presents her wonderful retellings of seven English, Irish, and Welsh tales. Tristan, Iron John, Burd Janet, Tamlane, and others come to life with language that speaks to the stories' origins, but will engage modern readers. The selections appear very close to the originals Bodger cited (Joseph Jacobs, different translations of the Mabinogion, etc.). She has retained much of the language and verse that set these stories in their times, yet has unobtrusively altered or explained phrases where they might cause confusion. Lang's illustrations are detailed and wonderfully moody, adding to the otherworldly appeal of the book. Fans of Arthurian tales should enjoy these stories over and over, and storytellers will be glad to find these faithful versions that read so well aloud.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This slim, posthumously published volume of medieval folktales not only serves as a monument to a gifted storyteller, but may well entice young readers to check out the once-popular Andrew Lang and Howard Pyle collections currently gathering dust on library shelves. Bolger sandwiches five tales between rousing accounts of Tristan's early exploits and heroic death: Childe Rowland's journey to the Elf King's Dark Tower, "Iron John," Tam Lin in a version that highlights the courage of his lady love Burd Janet, and two more that feature strong-minded royal wives. A lavish use of commas gives the prose the cadence of an oral rendition; modern turns of phrase (says a huntsman, "Fair stranger, what's the problem?") enliven the language without vitiating its high formal tone. Lang's dark, woodcut-like ink drawings, many of which rest on wide borders of Celtic lacework, add a traditional feel that harks back to Pyle. Fair speeches, brave deeds, humorous twists, and wondrous magic fill center stage here, edging overt violence into the wings. Offer these rich stories to readers who look upon the Arthurian canon's gorier episodes with distaste. (Folktales. 10-14)