The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Read: 24 November, 2010

When we found out we were having a son, I started reviewing my planned reading lists for gender-interest. That’s when I realized that my knowledge of “boy books” is woefully inadequate. I have oodles of “strong willed girl finds her place in society as she transitions into womanhood” books – more than enough to fill any childhood. I certainly want my son to be exposed to these kinds of books, but I realized that I was going to have to expand my repertoire to include at least some books that aren’t about girls getting their first periods if I was going to make a life-long reader out of this kid.

I decided to start with the classics of boy’s literature, and that’s how I ended up reading Robin Hood.

It was fantastic! Even though there was a serious lack of menstruation, there was more than enough exciting adventure to compensate.

The book is told as a series of short stories that build on each other only very loosely. Each one is an adventure involving Robin Hood and his companions; many of them tell how a particular individual came to join Robin Hood’s gang.

The stories are exciting and full of action (and more than a little violence). They are also full of witty arguments, which are often very clever and funny. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times!

Robin Hood is a sort of trickster figure, often seen playing pranks on others that sometimes backfire.

It’s a great book! I’ll definitely be recommending it to my son once he’s at least put diapers behind him. It’s a children’s book, but it’s certainly worth the reading for adults too!

PS: Given what I knew already of the Robin Hood legends, I was surprised to find out that Maid Marian is such a non-character – at least in this rendition. She’s mentioned a few times as Robin’s girlfriend, but that’s the extent of it. I don’t think she even makes an appearance in the story, and we certainly never learn any biographical details about her!

Buy The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood from Amazon to support my own merry adventures!

0 thoughts on “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

  1. Good to hear! I was raised on the Great Illustrated Classics version of Pyle’s book, but have always wanted to read the full version. Robin Hood is one of my favorite folk heroes, and his story always seems begging for a retelling. Robin McKinley wrote an interesting take on him in her book Outlaws of Sherwood, and fairly soon I hope to see what fantasy-writer Stephen Lawhead does with the legend in his King Raven trilogy (first book is called Hood).

    • I’ve never been a fan of publishers that put dumbed down version of classic children’s stories. It seems to me that if you set out with the assumption that kids today are fundamentally stupider than kids 100years ago, that’s precisely what you’re going to get.

      I’m a huge fan of Sterling’s classic children’s lit series! They are well made, hardcover books that are just fun to hold and, as far as I’ve seen, one of the very few modern publishers reprinting classic kid’s stories in their original form actually intended for a young audience.

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