The acclaimed author and illustrator of SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT return with an exhilarating edition of Britain's oldest epic.
Long ago there was a Scandinavian warrior who fought three evils so powerful they could destroy whole kingdoms. Standing head and shoulders above his comrades, Beowulf single-handedly saves the land of the Danes from a merciless ogre named Grendel and then from his sea-hag mother. But it is his third terrible battle, with the death-dragon of the deep, in which he truly meets his match. Lovers of heroes, monsters, and the drama of battle will find this retelling as enthralling as it is tragic.
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Michael Morpurgo, a recent British Children's Laureate, is the author of more than ninety books. He has been awarded the Smarties Book Prize, the Writers' Guild Award, and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. He lives in Devon, England.
Michael Foreman has written and illustrated numerous children's books and won several major awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal twice. He lives in London.
Grade 7 Up–Morpurgo retells the classic story of the courageous young warrior from the land of Geats (now southern Sweden) who used his brute strength to save the neighboring Danes, then his own kinsmen, by slaying two horrible monsters, a sea serpent, and a massive dragon. The tale has been divided into three segments: the story of the monster Grendel's defeat; the slaying of his mother, the sea-hag; and the battle with the death dragon of the deep. Morpurgo has retold the tale in twisting, long-winded sentences that call to mind the way in which old epics were recounted by poets and bards. The text-filled pages framed with a Celtic-style border are broken up with small watercolor illustrations tucked here and there to help move things along. Many attractive full-page watercolor and pastel paintings illustrate important action-filled scenes–battles, a banquet, and Beowulf's funeral pyre. Morpurgo's short acknowledgment states that his inspiration for this version of the Old English classic came from the likes of Seamus Heaney, Rosemary Sutcliffe, and Kevin Crossley-Holland. The lack of introductory material and historical background is noticeable but overall this is a fine retelling.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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