THE MINSTREL IN THE TOWER by Gloria Skurzynski


Email this review


For young readers, a satisfying rendition of a familiar plot: two children recoup their fortunes by mending an old family rift. With Father missing (he went on the Third Crusade with Richard the Lion-hearted) and Mother ill, Roger (11) and Alice (8) seek Uncle Raimond, a baron in nearby Bordeaux who disowned their mother years ago when she ran off to marry a poor knight. When the children are kidnapped en route, Alice (affectionately called ""monkey"" because she loves to climb trees) squeezes through a tower window, climbs down, makes her way to her uncle, and convinces him--in the book's best scene--that she is his niece. Realistically illustrated in soft pencil, the story has several strengths--lively action, authentic details, and sturdy, assertive Alice herself. Straining for readability, the dialogue is awkward, with too many jarringly colloquial speech patterns (the kidnapper says, ""What a life we could live. . .Undisturbed, like""). Satisfactory, but not outstanding.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1988
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Random House