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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Robin Hood - A Review

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle is by any definition a classic work of children's literature.

I just read the above pictured edition (Available at Amazon).

Even if you are well acquainted with the legend and have seen the movies and television programs there are many stories here that I have not seen in film. Even the familiar tales of Robin Hood's first meetings Little John and Friar Tuck both come to life here in more detail than I had previously encountered. The encounter with Friar Tuck is my kid's favorite part and they often quote it and make themselves laugh in the process.

The book originally published in 1883 still has a freshness and originality to it. The adventures are as enjoyable and intriguing as if they were just told for the first time. One aspect of the writing that both dates the book and casts it in a bad light is it's stereotypical treatment of Jewish people. This may have been acceptable in the late 1900's but I was surprised these crude comments weren't edited out of modern editions. Unlike Mark Twain's derogatory language in Huck Finn, I don't see any purpose educational or literary to keep them in the book.

The Maid Marian is the only notable figure missing from Pyle's stories. This makes the book heavy on adventure and light on romance. This suited me and my Son quite fine. (He hates it when his adventure stories are interrupted with kissing).

The edition pictured above features some fine discussion questions by Arthur Pober Ed. D. Next fall I am going to read the book to my kids as part of school and use some of the discussion questions for writing assignments.

Next Time: Home School Conference.

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