Sir Gawain & The Green Knight

The calibre of both the author and illustrator is such that it ensures that this book is of a high quality. This legendary tale of King Arthur’s nephew’s adventures on taking up the Green Knight’s challenge has been skillfully retold. The narrative is lively, clear and direct yet, at the same time, Morpurgo manages to retain the atmosphere of an oral tale. He does this partly by occasionally addressing the reader and he keeps closely to the traditional story, handling the temptations of the lady of the castle with sensitivity and bringing out the knightly virtues of honour, valour and bravery. His descriptions of the battles and the hunts are superb though quite bloodthirsty and contrast with the poetic descriptions of nature. He also uses quite a sophisticated vocabulary. Matching the fastmoving story, the illustrations are action-packed and very colourful. The most attractive picture, in my opinion, is of Sir Gawain fighting a huge ferocious red dragon which is also used on the cover. Interestingly, this particular adventure merits only two short sentences but as there are many illustrations, all enhancing the narrative, this does not matter. The hard backed book is beautifully produced, large green print on buff-coloured paper with a border. Some of the illustrations are double-page spreads; smaller ones are included in the text. A book that will delight everyone from 8 upwards who enjoys a good story.