Books Game of Thrones: Blue Bloods It's Monday What Are You Reading Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Of Kings and Outlaws: Arthur and Robin Hood


Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.


Click here to sign up. If you have already signed up, here is the January-March linky where you can link up your reviews or updates from your reading list.

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.


I found these two books from our libraries in keeping with our current theme. The packaging alone and the book covers are enough to make me want to bring them home. I hope to own copies of these two someday.

IMG_1169Arthur of Albion

Written byJohn Matthews Illustration by: Pavel Tatarnikov
Published by: Barefoot Books, 2008
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

I did not expect to be as taken by this book as I was. There were quite a few very late nights no thanks to Arthur of Albion. Not only is it beautifully illustrated, the narrative is also lyrical, filled with magic, yet so subtle, it sings. Not since the Game of Thrones have I been so enraptured by a story. Come to think of it, they do share similar themes.

Think of this book as a collection of vignettes which begins with a description of Albion and Arthur’s lineage and ends predictably with Arthur’s departure from the World of Man into the Land of Avalon.

Merlin carrying the young Arthur away to protect him from danger.
Merlin carrying the young Arthur away to protect him from danger.

Arthur was also described to be a lover of adventure-filled stories and that he demands that a riveting tale be told while they gather together in the Round Table. In The Boy who became King, the reader is introduced to Excalibur and how a young boy, blissfully unaware of his birthright was transformed into a King through the sword in the stone:


I was especially taken by The Ladies of the Lake. I was particularly fascinated by Argante the White and Morgana Le Fay, Arthur’s half-sister who happens to be the quintessentially beautiful villain. I especially liked how these ladies wielded such a powerful hold over the knights and the entire kingdom.

IMG_1173I also loved reading about the knights’ many adventures with a variety of magical creatures and elements from the Questing Beast to the elusive Holy Grail. A few of Sir Lancelot’s adventures were also mentioned here as well as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:


I remember reading about this story in my Literature class during my undergraduate days in the university. Then of course there is Merlin, the all-powerful.


I would have loved to know more about Merlin: his lineage, how he became a wizard, his motivations behind his many ingenious schemes, plots and plans. I could never discern from this story whether to perceive him as good or evil. He simply is.

The handsome Sir Lancelot watched over by four queens vying for his attention.

This book provides brief snapshots of the main characters and major adventures in Camelot. Enough to make the reader beg for more. Everything about this book: from the borders, end pages, the narrative, the design and layout – is a thing of beauty. A true marvel. Find it. Read it.

Robin HoodIMG_1190

Retold By: David Calcutt Illustrated by: Grahame Baker-Smith
Published by: Barefoot Books, 2012
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

The format of this book is quite similar to Arthur of Albion. In the Introduction, the Author David Clacutt explained that the stories found in this compilation are based on ballads composed hundreds of years ago. He also stated that while it is not known who actually composed the original ballads and when they were made, the earliest of them was printed in 1450:

Each of the stories in my book takes a particular ballad as its starting point, but I’ve changed them a little as I retold them – I’ve added some incidents, taken away others, and sometimes I’ve put episodes from two or three different


ballads together into one story and made complicated plots easier to understand. But, all the way through, I’ve tried to keep the spirit of the ballads alive.

In this collection of stories, the reader gets to know how Robin Hood became an outlaw, and characters like Little John and Friar Tuck.


While I confess to loving Arthur of Albion more, this book has its own charm and magic. The story of Robin Hood alone has withstood the test of time, and people remain fascinated by the narrative and its many layers and complexities. I especially adored this encounter between Robin and the maid Marian:


Currently Reading…


I have been reading quite a lot of graphic novels lately (The Unwritten Series, Volumes 1-4 by Mike Carey; and Fables by Bill Willingham). I thought after The Book Thief, I need to immerse myself in some visual feast while I take a bit of moratorium on words. I am halfway through The Runaway King and hopefully I finish it before our current theme ends.

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

12 comments on “[Monday Reading] Of Kings and Outlaws: Arthur and Robin Hood

  1. Beautiful books, once again. I know eventually I’ll end up reading more about Arthurian lore since it is so fascinating. One of my fave Disney movies is The Sword in the Stone!


  2. If you want to know more about Merlin, the books by Mary Stewart may be just what you need. They center around Merlin while telling the tales of King Arthur-I loved them & have used them with my students. Thanks for sharing these beautiful books too, Myra. Love hearing more about these stories!


  3. That book on Arthur looks gorgeous! Happy reading 🙂


  4. Love the way you present your week – looks like it was a good one!


  5. You find the most gorgeously illustrated and written books, Myra.


  6. Oohh… enjoy The Runaway King, loved all three books… such beautiful pictures this week!


  7. Love the pic of The Book Thief and the used tissues. Says so much. I really promote King Arthur books to my students. I have the Howard Pyle book, a few others, and a great graphic novel called Excalibur. I want to make sure they have a good grounding in classical studies.


  8. What gorgeous books! I love retellings of Robin Hood, especially the version by Robin McKinley (Outlaws of Sherwood)–but no pretty pictures in that one! I may need to reread The False Prince before I read The Runaway King. I don’t remember the first book very well.


  9. I often save your #IMWAYR post for last because I so adore getting lost in all of the images. Thank you for not disappointing week after week!


  10. I need to track down Arthur of Albion… gorgeous! Thank you for highlighting it!


  11. I want to read that King Arthur book! 😀


  12. Wow! I adore everything Arthurian. Have you read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s take on the tales? I added that Arthur book to my list. There’s also a wonderful trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay that spins off of Arthurian lore.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: