Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Better a hand of silver than a hand of iron" *

The children and I recently began reading "Otto of the Silver Hand", written by Howard Pyle (perhaps better known for his writing of "The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood".)

From the fly-leaf of the book, "This story of Otto, a boy who grew up in the safety of a monastery in the days of robber is a story of right against wrong, of a boy's courage against force and cruelty."

Otto's mother dies in childbirth, his father a wicked robber baron - deposits infant Otto in a monastery until he is about 12. His father then takes Otto back home with him, hoping to turn Otto into a "real man". While still a young teen, Otto is taken hostage by a rival robber baron and has his hand chopped off.

We were about half way through the book when it was time for a break. The kids were off doing other stuff and I, still intrigued with the story - decided to do a little more reading on my own (usually this is what one of the kids will do). And I finished the book. It was great!

It is a boyish type book with it being the Middle Ages and all...involving bad guys and good guys and a measure of bloodshed. It's also a Charlotte Mason-ish book...a way for children to learn more about the Middle Ages and Knights and Monasteries of old without reading about it in a less interesting textbook format. As the girl noted - it is very descriptive.

The girl has been enjoying the book, the boy (who just turned 7), though he loves the subject matter, has a harder time understanding it all (some old English conversation and I think he gets lost in all the descriptiveness). I'm going to have the girl finish the book on her own and I'll either read more of the book to the boy or just tell him the rest of the story.

*"Better a hand of silver than a hand of iron." - quote from Otto of the Silver Hand


CanadianGrandma said...

Do you get your books from the library/garage sales? You sure come across some strange/interesting books!

Edi said...

A lot of the books are from the library...there are also various lists that recommend good books for kids and if a book is on that list and I can't find it at the library and it sounds interesting - I might try getting it on eBay.

But also some books are just ones I come across at the library "for sale" table or garage sales.