Title: The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great
Author: Gerald Morris
Major Themes: King Arthur, Knights
Synopsis: The Knights of the Round Table are introduced to young children through the simple, fun stories in this book.
I don’t believe my boys had ever heard of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table before we started The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great. We read Black Horses for the King at the same time as Sir Lancelot; Black Horses is a much more realistic story. Sir Lancelot is fun, though! When a friend stayed a couple of nights with us last week, one of the boys read him Chapter 2, and when my 5-year-old thought he had missed hearing the last chapter, he cried.
Sir Lancelot lived across the sea, but he heard stories about how King Arthur’s knights had “the bravest hearts, the noblest souls, and the shiniest armor in all the world.” Nothing would satisfy him but joining them himself, so off he set to King Arthur’s court. On the way, he was trying to clean his armor, because of course he had to make a good first impression, by having shiny armor—but recreant (wicked) knights kept coming after him and he had to knock them off their horses left-handed! Your children will love reading the stories about how Sir Lancelot was treed by another knight, and how one day he was sleeping in a meadow (Sir Lancelot did love his afternoon naps) when a lady tried to shoot a deer, missed, and hit Sir Lancelot right in the—oh, we won’t mention where.
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot is a delightful introduction to the King Arthur legends. It leaves out the indecency that we’re finding in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Because it is a modern retelling, especially for children, the stories are much more interesting than King Arthur and His Knights by Maude Radford Warren. It was interesting to compare Sir Lancelot with King Arthur; we could recognize parts of some of the stories in both. We supplemented our study of King Arthur by watching a 1974 documentary about searching for the real King Arthur on YouTube. That helped a little in separating fact from fiction! More than likely, all these stories about King Arthur and his knights are legends, but there was likely a powerful leader named Arthur at some point. Guess I got off track here. Anyway, it has been a fascinating study, and even if you aren’t studying King Arthur per se, your young children will enjoy The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great!
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12