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SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT by Michael Morpurgo Kirkus Star


adapted by & illustrated by

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7636-2519-1
Publisher: Candlewick

Morpurgo offers a fluid translation of the 14th-century tale. “Chickens, the lot of you. Worse than chickens too,” the anything-but-jolly green giant taunts King Arthur’s court, before losing his head to Sir Gawain—then riding away with it cradled in his arm. A year and a day later, after surviving exhausting hardships, hard battles, and a comically discomfiting attempted seduction, Gawain presents himself, as he had promised, to be beheaded in turn. He looks a trifle undersized in Foreman’s luminous watercolors, which makes his heroism all the more striking as he confronts challenges to his endurance, his knightly prowess, and his stubbornly held honor. In the end, those qualities earn him a new lease on life, though he discovers himself, as Morpurgo writes, “not as honest or true as he would want himself to have been: much like many of us, I think.” Several condensed versions of the story are available for young readers, but enhanced by striking art, plus handsome packaging that includes a text in (perfectly legible) green, this full rendition stands apart. (Folktale. 10-13)