Every boy wants to have adventures, and when Wart (rhymes with Art), finds stumbles across a cabin in the forest, he gets what he wants. Merlyn seems wise and mysterious, but more importantly, he knows magic.
When Merlyn can change you into a grass snake or a badger, you get a first-rate education from the beasts of the natural world and when you live in a castle near the forest, adventure is always calling.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
Whimsy and magic, The Sword in the Stone has remained a classic youth fantasy novel filled with the fantastic and bizarre, not to mention a lot of imagination.
In 2014, The Sword in the Stone was nominated for the 1939 Retro-Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Rating (4 stars)
In some way, this book reminded me of Peter Pan and Wendy, with its lighthearted tone and focus on children’s imagination. Rather than a historical tale of a legend, it focuses on whimsy and adventure.
If you’re expecting something that might remind you of the animated Disney film The Sword in the Stone, look elsewhere. The tone is completely different (even if some elements were borrowed). Most striking to me is that Kay is a much more sympathetic character. He may be a bit proud, but overall he is a good-hearted boy and Wart’s boyhood companion.
Lighthearted comedy fills the pages, but unfortunately, due to it’s age (1939), there are sad instances of casual racism that are distracting to a modern reader. Still, there is a lot of heart.
Overall, I enjoyed the reflective and imaginative tone, although today’s children may expect a more straightforward book.
Read this book:
For a book as loose and free as children playing
Don't Read this book:
If historical accuracy and a straightforward plot are your reasons for picking it up.
Once you're done, do this:
Read Peter Pan and Wendy. Pirates instead of Knights, but still plenty of adventure.