The Orchard Book of Swords, Sorcerers and Superheroes by Tony Bradman and Tony Ross
|The Orchard Book of Swords, Sorcerers and Superheroes by Tony Bradman and Tony Ross|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: Jason and the Argonauts, King Arthur, Aladdin, William Tell, Hercules, Sinbad, St George, Ali Baba, Theseus and Robin Hood. Do you really need to know any more? It's super!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: August 2010|
Jason and the Argonauts, King Arthur, Aladdin, William Tell, Hercules, Sinbad, St George, Ali Baba, Theseus and Robin Hood. If you love myths and legends as much as we do then those ten heroes will have got your juices flowing, and you'll be desperate to dive in to this collection of adventures. It's fantastic. You'll love it!
We've loved other books in this series - Heroes and Villains and Magical Tales. Swords, Sorcerers and Superheroes is as wonderful as they were. These are classic tales for a reason, so it would almost be impossible for this to be anything other than a must-have for your bookshelf. Tony Bradman's versions of the tales come with a freshness that engages the reader, without ever being anachronistic or shying away from what has always made the legends so successful. Tony Ross' pen and ink illustrations blend beautifully with the text, setting the scene and enhancing rather than dominating children's imaginations.
Anthologies like this are always wonderful - not to diminish how well Bradman and Ross have brought it all together. We loved 'em as kids. Kids nowadays love 'em. Kids will always love 'em. From the first big books you read together a chapter a night when moving on from picture books, through picking it up for yourself when you're more able to read for yourself, to just ploughing through it all under the covers with a torch because it's all so exciting and adventurous, this is the sort of book that stays with you for years and years. It's aimed at confident readers, but the quality is such that it'll certainly click with younger and older readers too.
And yes, they're the stories everyone knows and takes for granted, but there's so much in there when you sit up and take notice. The Saxons are the baddies in the tale of King Arthur's sword in the stone, yet they're the goodies by the time Robin Hood comes around. The point isn't hammered home, but the seeds are there for the kids to spot or for you to dangle the question. That can spark all sorts of fascinating conversations about goodies, baddies, perception of history, changing times, changing attitudes, prejudice and generalisation. They might know of some of the heroes from other sources - by my reckoning, four of the ten tales are Disney films, including my two favourites The Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood - which can also lead on to thinking about different versions of the same story. Or you can just read them as ten wonderful and timeless tales that are packed with adventure, excitement and wonder.
Swords, Sorcerers and Superheroes would make a wonderful present for almost any child. It deserves a place on your bookshelf. You'll love it. Highly recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
There are plenty of great suggestions for further reading in Bookbag's Top Ten Classics of Children's Literature and Top Ten Retellings of Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales. I'll give a particular shout-out to The Sword in the Stone by T H White, which I just adore. The Beasts in the Jar (Greek Beasts and Heroes) by Lucy Coats and Anthony Lewis is another must-have collection of myths and legends. You might also enjoy Here Come the Superheroes by Neal Zetter and Chris White.
The Orchard Book of Swords, Sorcerers and Superheroes by Tony Bradman and Tony Ross is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2010.
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