ROWAN HOOD by Nancy Springer


Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest
Age Range: 9 - 13
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The legendary archer inspires a worthy daughter in a lightweight fantasy. Thirteen-year-old Rosemary lives content until her wood-wife mother is murdered as a witch. Disguised as a boy, Rowan, she sets off in search of Robin Hood, the father she never knew. After running afoul of the villainous Guy of Gisborn, she gains an assortment of misfit companions—Tykell, a half-breed wolf-dog; Lionel, a petulant giant minstrel; and Ettarde, a runaway princess—and the enigmatic assistance of her elfin kinfolk. Robin himself turns out to be both her heart’s desire and a disappointment; he offers Ro a place in his band, but fails to recognize her as his child, and she is simultaneously daunted and repelled by the outlaw life. While rejecting Robin’s methods, Ro and her friends still accomplish a daring rescue when he is captured; and the revelation of Ro’s parentage allows her to accept her heritage and her future. Springer, acclaimed for her Arthurian retellings (I Am Morgan Le Fay, p. 58, etc.), presents a sanitized Sherwood Forest, with minimal menace or discomfort. All violence occurs neatly offstage, and Ro’s mysterious conception is explained so elliptically as to elude most young readers. Springer’s pantheistic mysticism may baffle some, and her critique of hierarchical authority will undoubtedly sail over their heads. Still, if Robin is a one-dimensional wish fulfillment of the perfect father, Ro herself is an appealing heroine, both compassionate and strong; and her story will leave adventurous girls eager for the inevitable sequel. A pleasant trifle. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23368-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2001


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