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Book Reviews, Early/Young Readers, Historical Fiction, Humor, Middle Grade Readers, Read-Aloud Suggestions

SIR BALIN, THE ILL-FATED By Gerald Morris

 

My children (ages 8 and 10) and I read Sir Balin as a bedtime story (and are now in the process of reading all the rest of the books in the series).  None of the three of us could stop laughing.

As an infant, Sir Balin and his parents are visited by the Old Woman from the Mountain.  (The specifics of which mountain she is from is the subject of a very funny discussion between the Old Woman and Sir Balin’s father.) The Old Woman foretells that Sir Balin will be an extremely successful knight in his endeavors but that he will bring bad luck with him wherever he goes and that bad luck will be visited upon everyone around him–especially those about whom he cares the most.

The wise and funny story follows Sir Balin–who absolutely believes in the Old Woman’s prophecy–in his adventures.  His brother, Sir Balan (Yes, the similarity of names is ALSO fodder for some extremely funny exchanges.), tries to convince him that the prophecy is just something an old woman said and that Sir Balin, himself, is the one in control of his life: his destiny is what HE determines it to be.

These stories are delightful to read and to share.  They are short (only about 5 chapters) so they are less likely to intimidate young or reluctant readers than books with more volume.  Adults who love Monty Python (as I do) will find a similarity in tone and humor; young readers will glory in the silliness and slapstick aspects of knights and their servants.

If you enjoy a good laugh and are interested in–or would like to teach or learn about–medieval knights and life in King Arthur’s kingdom you cannot do better than Gerald Morris Knights’ Tales series!

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