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CHAUCER’S CANTERBURY TALES by Marcia Williams Kirkus Star


adapted by Marcia Williams & illustrated by Marcia Williams

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-7636-3197-3
Publisher: Candlewick

Of Williams’s string of recast classics, this is the best so far. In nine of Chaucer’s broader tales, retold in brief prose passages between lines of small, comic strip–style panels over running scenes of the pilgrim storytellers regaling one another, Williams moves from strenuous tests of love or faith in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” and “The Clerk’s Tale” to the romance (or tragedy, depending on one’s point of view) of “The Knight’s Tale.” And from the hilarious hanky panky of “The Miller’s Tale” and the bed-swapping “The Reeve’s Tale” (featuring the occasional bare fundament, but leaving the sex implied) to the gruesome triumph of Death in “The Pardoner’s Tale.” The pictures, aptly filled with comical figures of many classes and walks of life, are also sprinkled with direct quotes to provide a taste of the original’s language. After the Nun’s Priest’s version of “Chanticleer and the Fox,” plus a full-spread view of the pilgrims arriving at Canterbury, Williams closes with a discussion-sparking invitation to judge which is the best story. Readers will want to revisit several of the high—and low—spots before deciding. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)