Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Kitchen Knight

Title:  The Kitchen Knight
Author: Retold by Margret Hodges
Illustrator: Trina Schart Hyman
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre:  Epic

Level: Intermediate
Number of Pages: 30
Pub. Date: 1990
Summary: The setting is placed before one of Camelot’s great feasts, which he always likes to hear a great adventure. A man named Gareth comes to Camelot in disguise  as a poor man and is given food and set to work as a kitchen. One of the king’s men, Kay, who always gives him difficult work, teases him as a lowly kitchen boy and always demeans him.  Gareth goes to the aid of Lynette to save her sister Lyonesse from the Red Knight of the Red Lands. He is accompanied by the dwarf Melot, who knows his true identity. However, Lynette takes Gareth as a mere kitchen boy and constantly derides him. On the way he defeats the impressive Black Knight, and takes his armor and horse. He then meets the Green Knight. Lynette tells the Green Knight that he is a kitchen boy and begs him to rid her of him. Gareth overcomes the Green Knight but spares his life in return for the knight's swearing to serve him. Lynette finally sees that Gareth's calm acceptance of her abuse is very knightly and that he must be a very good knight indeed. He arrives at Lyonesse's castle and he fights the Red Knight all day and finally prevails. Gareth spares him, making him swear to serve him. After Lyonesse finds out his true identity after kidnapping and talking to his dwarf, Gareth marries Lyonesse.
Author, Margret Hodges
Critique: This epic retells the first part of “The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney,” which is mentioned in the intro along with connections to other tales of Camelot. The book features many literary qualities of high quality traditional tales or epics. The language is appropriate for an intermediate reader yet keeps the original integrity of the story-telling style. The medieval culture is preserved, but some of the hard to say names are simplified to just the Green Knight for younger readers. The illustrations are wonderful and definitely aid in interpreting Gareth’s story.
Response:  After reading this book, I thought about how I would like to live in the setting of the
story. I really think I would have liked it in medieval times. Everything was about respect and loyalty and the maidens like Lyonesse were treated so well. I know other women weren’t, but hey, if I’m going to chose to go back in time I may as well dream I can be a Princess rescued by a great Knight when I do.

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