cover image Tales of King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone

Tales of King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone

Hudson Talbott. HarperCollins, $19.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09403-4

The classic story of Arthur's discovery of his noble birthright under Merlin the sorcerer's watchful eye receives some contemporary touches in this attractive volume. The author/illustrator of We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story presents young Arthur as unprepossessing, content to attend to his duties as his knighted brother's squire, dazzled when he is brought to London, reluctant to forsake his adoptive father for the throne of England. The illustrations encompass a range of styles--street scenes bustle; pictures of tournaments surge with energy; depictions of public assemblies suggest the anonymity of crowds. A bit less successfully, a few ethereal or studiously reverent illustrations herald the future glory of Arthur. On the whole, however, the drama in Arthur's feat of removing the famous sword from the stone on Christmas Day is not merely preserved but heightened. All ages. (Sept.)