EXCALIBUR by Hudson Talbott


Age Range: 6 - 11
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 The third entry in the Tales of King Arthur series concerns the boyish and very human ruler, Arthur, retold in an uncluttered, open manner and with far more immediacy than King Arthur and the Round Table (1995). A huge battle scene at the ocean's edge is the first of many colorful, spectacular tableaux. Having conquered the Saxons, King Arthur watches wistfully as all his knight-pals set off for adventures while he mopes around in the castle. He slips out of the castle to fight the evil King Pellinore, despite Merlin's warnings against it. After battling ``for hours,'' Arthur is rescued from death by Merlin and recovers dramatically to claim the sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. She is very fairy-like, sort of a cross between Ophelia and the Good Witch of the North. The point-of-view momentarily shifts to Merlin, who observes ``the innocent lad from Wales had disappeared forever. In his place now sat an earnest young man, ready to serve his people with grace and dignity.'' ClichÇs riddle the paintings, and there are irregularities of proportion. But the use of light and dark as well as the sheer verve of the illustrating style makes the action exciting and the emotional quality of some of the scenes affecting. (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-13380-0
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1996


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