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Favorite Medieval Tales

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  35 reviews
1 Finn Maccoul - Boy eats magic salmon for Irish poetry, weds girl evil Druid transformed to doe.
2 Beowulf - He slays Grendel for besieged King Hothgar of Denmark but monster mother leaves marsh for revenge.
3 Sword in the Stone - Boy Merlin tells evil king, red dragon slain is his future, hides son Arthur for Uther.
4 Island of the Lost Children - Griffin flies Dutch Prin
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1998)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  226 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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R. G. Nairam
Hello, first 5-star book of the year...figures you'd be children's, history, and J398.

I loved this. The tales were very succinct, from the ones I was familiar with (Beowulf, Robin Hood, Roland, Gawain) were loyal depictions in a short space. The ones I wasn't familiar with I want to look up, especially Finn Maccoul. I found the prose very readable. A good introduction.

I especially liked, however, the focus on language Osborne brings up in the introduction. I further liked the background informat
An Odd1
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
All are optimistic, except Roland ends in tears. Illustrations suit stained glass monk manuscript origins. Language is simple. Beowulf movie is tragic version, where "sins of the fathers" Christianity and demons overtake pagan king.
This sneaky Sir Kay is more believable than T.H. White's in Sword in the Stone There Sir Ector directs son to replace weapon. Only Art can pull out. Here Kay apologizes after being foun
Marissa Elera
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous collection of nine Medieval tales from Ireland, Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, and France. This collection is particularly fascinating due to the in depth research and source details the author includes. The introduction itself is richer than many average collections of tales include. Osbourne goes into the earliest history known about this area of the world, the evolution of its written word and religions, and quite a lot about the evolution of English as a language. She exp ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love these stories and I even found a few new ones for my collection of medieval tales. Beowulf, The Sword in the Stone and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are definitely on my top all time favorite medieval tales. The illustrations are beautiful, the stories are classic, and the author's notes are interesting.

Some of the author's notes:
Ballad- Poetry put to music and sung by troubadours and minstrels. "Robin Hood and His Merry Men" was first told in ballad form.
Chanson De Geste- Early French
The Unicorn
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young readers who want to introduce themselves to English folklore
This book was first published in 1999, though asides from The Sword in the Stone, I never properly read through ALL of the stories before reading through it this month.

The writing is really dry, which is must be why I had a hard time jumping into the stories before, though it clearly was written for younger readers being introduced to Medieval English folklore (as evident of the footnotes and term definitions). Moving past that, these particular interpretations of stories a reader might or migh
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, kids-niños
A collection of nine classic mythological tales, mostly from the British Isles, 'Favorite Medieval Tales' is a great read for late elementary-aged students and children interested in folkore. It is also a good example of the ways in which languages change, as each tale begins with an excerpt in the original language (Old Irish, Old English, Latin, Middle High German, Old French, and Middle English to be specific) translated to Modern English. The decorations and illustrations by Troy Howell are ...more
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a treasure! We are studying the Middle Ages right now and this book has a number of legends from this time period, re-told for children. Each tale begins w/ an excerpt from the story in the language it was originally written (Ie., Old French, Old/Middle English, Latin, etc.), along side the same excerpt in modern English. AT the end of the book, there are notes about the story (when it was probably written, by whom, etc.), some info. about the development of the English language, info. ...more
Melody Savage
If you are faced with having to read Beowulf or the ancient poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, beef up your background knowledge with this collection of stories which simplify the old writings, giving an overview of the works. Of course, this is meant to provide young people with background knowledge of the middle ages, but it could also be a preparatory reading to ready older students for the more complex texts. Simple to read true to the originals, the stories are suitable for many grades. ...more
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
Robin Hood and His Merry Men, King Arthur (The Sword in Stone), Beowulf and Grendel, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Song of Roland, Finn MacCoul and more. I must say this one of my favorite compiling of Medieval Tales. The Illustrations are simply beautiful, yet match the feel of the medieval tales very well.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Good introduction for younger children to classic medieval tales. Think of it more as an appetizer for these tales, they are the perfect length and complexity for a read aloud. My 6 year old loves these stories and the pictures.

Good to read along with a first pass through medieval on a classical curriculum. For the older elementary years move in to something more advanced and detailed.
Sierra Mitchell
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm a huge fan of all things medieval. I'm a huge fan of folklore. It only makes sense that this book was one of the best folklore books I've ever read. Since it's a children's book, it made for a fast and simple read. It's actually sparked me to read up on some of the tales inside the book.

Bonus: really awesome wizard on the front cover.
Maria M
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I used to love this book as a child. It's part of what turned me to a major in Medieval Studies at university. It still holds up when I reread it as an adult. The stories are very simplified versions of medieval European classics, but it's a good range of tales and most/all the important bits of the stories are there. ...more
Lynn  Davidson
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is a gorgeously illustrated book of 9 well-told tales from medieval times:
Finn Maccoul
The Sword in the Stone
Island of the Lost Children
The Song of Roland
The Werewolf
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Robin Hood and his Merry Men
Chanticleer and the Fox

At the back of the book are notes on each story and more interesting information.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Osborne faithfully retells these stories an accesible and enjoyable way and Howell’s illustrations are excellent. There is some linguistic, historical, and literary/artistic context provided as well. Altogether, I think this book can provide children with a great introduction to medieval stories and legends.
Irene Webb
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not going to give a long review because it was just a few stories. But I loved reading this out loud. I liked reading stories familiar to me and some I've never heard of before. This is a book I see myself re reading to my children whenever I have some. They were fun to read. Sometimes nonsense but it just gave me the fairytale vibe. I recommend this. ...more
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2006
Book #64 read in 2006

I enjoyed this book. I liked the simplfied versions of some of the great classics in literature. I can see reading this to my students and having them understand and enjoy this as well.
Conner Rose
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Favorite Medieval Tales is by Mary Pope Osborne and Troy Howell. This book tells some of some of the most liked stories from long ago. It has stories like Robin Hood, The Werewolf, and Beowulf. The stories are very detailed and interesting. I would recommend this book to someone who likes tales.
Bethany Anne
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wasn't a fan of the illustrations but this isn't really about the pictures as it is about the tales and all of the great information at the back of the book. Can't wait until my daughter is old enough to read it. ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My children and I enjoyed all the stories in this book. They are well-written with helpful notes on the language and history of each tale. The illustrations are beautiful and I wish there were more of them.
Esther May
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This book has some of everything. We enjoyed a small introduction to the medieval world in this book.
We kicked off our Middle Ages history studies this year with this collection of favorite medieval tales. There are so many great stories to complement this time period. We're looking forward to it. ...more
Ella Pyne
For lovers of medieval tales that are simplified down a bit, this book you will really enjoy!
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So much fun. Even my two-year-old kept asking to read the story of Beowulf again.

Read-aloud, boys age 7, 5, 2.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
We really enjoyed this one. I loved the illustrations that reminded me of illuminated manuscripts. The stories were good and the history of each one was fascinating.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, read-aloud
A nice, brief collection of medieval tales, some familiar, others new. Used as an intro to medieval history. We love Mary Pope Osborne!
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great collection of medieval tales that I have read other places but always enjoy revisiting.
Liss Carmody
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly good. Written for an elementary-middle schooler audience, these are European literature classics from the early- to mid-middle ages, drawn from a variety of sources. Osborne hits the expected highlights - King Arthur, Robin Hood, Chaucer - but also delves into the literary, mythological, and slightly obscure with adaptations of Beowulf, Finn MacCoul, Gawain, Roland, and even Marie de France's The Werewolf. The adaptations are nicely done, easily understood but also clearly referenti ...more
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all interested in medieval tales and/or the linguistic precursors of English
This book is great for anyone interested in medieval tales and/or the linguistic precursors of Modern English!
Mar 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Very long. Would be best for middle school and up. Includes some classics like Robin Hood and The Sword and the Stone and others I had never heard before.
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Read aloud to the kids-
They loved how weird many of these stories are!
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