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The Little Duke

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  48 reviews
On a bright autumn day, as long ago as the year 943, there was a great bustle in the Castle of Bayeux in Normandy. The hall was large and low, the roof arched, and supported on thick short columns, almost like the crypt of a Cathedral; the walls were thick, and the windows, which had no glass, were very small, set in such a depth of wall that there was a wide deep window s ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1854)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  450 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ao-year-2, 2019
Sometimes a book grows on you - or perhaps you grow enough to really appreciate it. It wasn’t a favorite when I read it to my first AO Year 2 student four years ago with either of us, perhaps due at least in part to the fact that we were both new to the curriculum and I was reading it from my iPad, which I dislike. This time through my current Year 2 student had Year 1 under his belt and is a fluent narrator, and I found a hard copy to add to my collection of Junior Deluxe Editions. And we both ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-childhood
As a long-time fan of Charlotte Yonge, I thought it was about time to read one of her better known books, even though I'm mostly interested in her as a chronicler of mid-Victorian family life, and not as a writer of historical fiction. It took me some time to get into the story, because at the outset I knew literally nothing about the history of Medieval Normandy, and was generally confused about what was going on (Vikings in France? Who knew?). However, I persevered, and was soon unexpectedly e ...more
Angie Libert
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-alouds
We all absolutely loved this story! The Little Duke's character contrasted with the spoiled French Prince brought such great conversations into our home. The Duke's love for God and ability to forgive was also very touching.
Gina Johnson
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished reading this to Grace today. It was a little hard to get into at first but it ended up being greatly enjoyed by both of us and I feel like she’s formed a relationship with Duke Richard and will actually remember a lot about him.
Susan Peek
Jun 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
I tried to read this book out loud to my children. I say "tried" because we couldn't get through it. While it certainly had the makings of a fantastic story, it was extremely poorly written. My kids just stared vacant-eyed as the story rambled around in a totally bewildering fashion and every page I had to stop to explain the plot in normal English so they could know what was going on. I finally got frantic and paraphrased the entire blasted thing until we all lost interest and put it back, unfi ...more
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was our history book for term 2 - Ambleside Online. I gave it 4 stars because it was a difficult book to get into. The French names were hard to keep track of and it was hard to follow, in the beginning, but by the end it we loved it!
Emily Tsesmeloglou
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read aloud for AmblesideOnline year 2. I loved the first chapter, then it seemed a little slow and I struggled with all the names and French pronunciations. But then it was very enjoyable once I had a grasp of the characters, and I'm looking forward to reading again in two years. Love the living ideas and the powerful forgiveness theme in this book.
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book on my own, and now am reading it a second time with my 8 year old son.

The Little Duke is a novel that chronicles the development of good character in Duke Richard of Normandy, a child who becomes duke at a young age and must learn some difficult life lessons. It takes place in Normandy (France) in the time before William the Conquerer, and teaches a great deal about the history and culture of the times, as well as the unchanging aspect of human
While this book was difficult to get into, and difficult to read aloud because of the heavy dialect in the dialogue, it turned out to be one of our favorite books that semester. You grow to really love the Little Duke and care about what happens next to him, his friends, and his countrymen. Definitely one to push through the first few chapters to get to the great meat of the book.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: school-read
I read this to my 7yo as a part of our homeschool curriculum (Ambleside Online). We both thought it was just OK. Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. :) Not sure if I'll read it to my other children?
Anthony Peter
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
To say, at my age, that I 'really liked' a children's story seems rather sentimental, but 'The Little Duke' reminded me so much of my childhood reading and was so filled with wholesome (some may say unrealistic) thinking that it thoroughly appealed to me. I also found myself admiring the scholarly basis for the facts of the story, if the notes at the end are a just indication of that supposition.

I had a friend with a congratulatory first from Oxford who was intellectually rigorous an
Matilda Rose
This intriguing and quick-paced book recounts the childhood adventures of Richard the Fearless of Normandy, and the time he spent as the King of France's hostage. It gives a good insight into his life and joys and all the characters are extremely realistic. Richard is a very likeable little boy from the beginning.
Anjanette Barr
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read this aloud and my 8 year old just loved it! I liked it too, and think I would have enjoyed it much more if I hadn't had to read it and try to pronounce all the French. ;) We read it slowly over a whole year (for homeschool), and he was just as excited about it at the end as when we started. A wonderful story about character and maturation (as well as history).
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
My son and I listened to this rather short book on the childhood of Richard the Fearless, The Little Duke, of Normandy. Although a little slow in parts, the story picks up midway and turns out to be a delightful tale of forgiveness and friendship.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ao-year-2
“The blessing of a merciful God be upon the sinner who turneth from his evil way; and ten thousand blessings of pardon and peace are already on the head of him who hath stretched out his hand to forgive and aid him who was once his most grievous foe!”
Brooklyn Davis
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-alouds
4.5. The kids and I both fell in love with the story. The language is difficult at times to understand, but it made a great read aloud!
Meg W
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-shelf
A sweet story for the family.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history book that also helps build character and virtue
Lisa Rosenow
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We read this book for AO, and we loved it! It was a great story and we learned a lot about that time in history for the Normands/ Franks.
Farah Mendlesohn
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taking liberties with history but still good.

I first read this in the school library when i was ten and adored it. I even remember the cover. Charlotte Yonge is such a good writer and demonstrates that didacticism does not preclude entertainment. But don’t rely on it for historical accuracy, it’s a mess.
A fun read! I'm learning all kinds of history.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read this 2 times now (with my kids, 3 years apart) and find that it is just as captivating the 2nd go around as the first. What a rich story of a brave young boy who learns so much through adversity and trials. It is a great read-aloud with a younger child (7-9), or independently for an older child. Richard Duke is a excellent example of perseverance and character in spite of circumstances beyond his control. It will tug on your heart-strings as you come to the end. I recommend for boys an ...more
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't tell anyone but I had a bit of a problem with the 18th and 19th century Women Writers Challenge. I kept looking at the list I had chosen and I didn't feel like reading them. So I went browsing Project Gutenberg to see if I found anything that could count for the challenge and that interested me at the same time.

When I found this title I didn't immediately realise it was a story for children, what appealed to me was that it was a medieval story and I seldom resist those.

Book summary from "Crowned Duke of Normandy at eight years of age [943 a.d.] after the treacherous murder of his noble father, Richard the Fearless, in compliance with his father’s last injunction, must come to grips with his desire to avenge this terrible injustice.

Political intrigue thickens the plot when the wily French King conspires to take advantage of Normandy’s juvenile ruler to seize the independent region for the crown. In the year-long separation from his home
Timothy Ferguson
Aug 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: librivox
One of those adult stories now possibly more suitable as a children's book?

You know how Huckleberry Finn is basically an adult book now read mostly by children? This is kind of similar: it's a children's book with the occassional digression into details suited to adult readers (like tecnhichalites on how the church works in an area).

The story itself is basically a boys own adventure about being a little Norman nobleman, but without the high-adrenaline exploits you might assume from that genre.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, re-reads
What could make a story set in the middle ages relatable to someone in 2017? Yonge has succeeded in creating realistic characters, who come off the page for their humanness.
Richard (the little Duke) struggles with fits of passion, desire for revenge, and pride. We watch his struggle to overcome his baser instincts and through trial and tribulation grow into someone with more humility, bravery, and tenderness than we could have expected from the little boy we're first introduced to.
Though there
A Nelson
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard the Fearless, Duke of Normandy (943-996)
The initial chapters of this true story are a little slow and the language takes a some adjustment. After the initial pages, however, it's hard to put this true story down. The culture described and the transformation the Little Duke undergoes--from impertinent 8-year-old to forgiving and kind young man even after an unjust imprisonment--is inspiring. In the book, the transformation is clearly attributed to the Duke's training in God's word a
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, sy10-11
This has been one of the kids favorite historical fiction selections this year. The struggles of a little boy to be a good leader in the absence of his father and amidst political turmoil were definitely an intriguing story. I think they identified with him in many ways as a child trying hard to do what is right and to be kind to those who treat you poorly. I enjoyed the richness of the story and loved that the children begged me to read more but it seemed long winded sometimes. Despite that we ...more
Sally Ewan
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
One of the Ambleside books that I had missed out on in the earlier years, this tells the story of Richard who becomes Duke of Normandy when his father is killed. Richard goes through hard things and learns to be kind and forgiving. I don't know what to make of this book. It seems nice, but I'm wary of moralism, especially when so much is made of one's 'works'. I still enjoyed watching Richard learn and grow as he endured hardship and became a good leader for his people!
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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Charlotte Mary Yonge was an English novelist, known for her huge output, now mostly out of print.

She began writing in 1848, and published during her long life about 160 works, chiefly novels. Her first commercial success, The Heir of Redclyffe (1853), provided the funding to enable the schooner Southern Cross to be put into service on behalf of George Selwyn. Similar charitable works were done