Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer, Author, Barbara Cohen, Author, Trina Schart Hyman, Illustrator HarperCollins $26.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-688-06201-9
This carefully researched and lively edition of a part of Chaucer's masterwork is richly and beautifully produced. While Cohen admits that ``Chaucer's words are best,'' her prose adaptation of four of his tales captures the zest and vigor of Middle English and makes his stories accessible to the modern child. This is not a pedantic translation or a bowdlerized retelling; Cohen does not substitute weak cliches for Chaucer's rollicking and earthy metaphors, nor does she sacrifice the rhythms of his text. Readers hear the bickering of the pilgrims as they decide on which tale they want to hear next, and the rambling voice of the good Sir John as he laments Chaunticleer's fate. Hyman's meticulous drawings not only evoke the rich panoply of 14th century England, but they are faithful to the text in the smallest detail. Each pilgrim is made particular: we see the Pardoner's limp hanks of hair and the Wife of Bath's gap-toothed smile and dainty ankle. One could not ask for a more enticing introduction to Chaucer's world. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/16/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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