Award-winning author-artist team Geraldine McCaughrean and Jason Cockcroft have joined forces again to create an infectious, inviting, colorfully-illustrated, novella-length adaptation of Edmund Spenser's epic-scale sixteenth-century poem of knightly adventure and enchantment, "The Faerie Queene." While more than one complete or partial children's rendering of Spenser's First Book has been done in recent decades ("Saint George and the Dragon," first by Sandol Stoddard Warburg and Pauline Baynes and later by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman), this must be the first time in about a century that a complete adaptation of the poem as a whole has appeared (there were many of them in the decades before that, most notably Mary Macleod's recently-reprinted 1897 effort, "Stories from The Faerie Queene"). Unlike most of her predecessors, McCaughrean has handled the adaptation very freely and inventively, as if penning the scenario for a TV miniseries based on Spenser's tales of chivalry, rather than merely simplifying the complexity and maturity of the original down to a level accessible and suitable for today's young readers. Sometimes we are really no closer to Spenser's version of events than in the title story from "The Mathematics of Magic," a light-hearted fantasy by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp in which modern-day psychologists transport themselves into the midst of Spenser's Book Four by means of Symbolic Logic! While I think that this freedom was the right choice, I do fear that, when those of today's young readers who are especially taken by this book eventually sign up for college courses on Spenser's original, they will be disappointed at how many signature details and scenes of which they have particularly fond memories were invented by McCaughrean and are not to be found in Spenser at all. Nonetheless, I suspect that the touches McCaughrean has added to this book will indeed instill lasting and affectionate memories in many of its young readers, and leave them with at least an indirect acquaintance with an exquisite and extremely influential masterpiece of English literature. The Faerie Queene (Penguin Classics)Saint George and the DragonSaint George and the DragonThe Mathematics of Magic (L. Sprague De Camp) (L. Sprague De Camp)Stories from the Faerie Queene (Forgotten Books)
I found this while looking for a modern retelling of Pilgrim's Progress. Our family has long enjoyed morality Tales of the King Arthur era, and these were a delight to find. this is the sort of thing that you read out loud to your sons & daughters but secretly enjoy yourself. The stories are rich in encouragement to find what is truely important in life. The illustrations scattered throughout might give the under 5 yr old set nightmares. Some pictures are ink drawings, some are full color. If you enjoyed Gerald Morris's Squire Tales series, you will enjoy these..(though these do not have an underlying thread of humor running through them) the style is similar.