TALES OF COURT AND CASTLE by Joan Bodger

TALES OF COURT AND CASTLE

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

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)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-88776-614-5
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2003