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Book reviews for "Crossley-Holland,_Kevin" sorted by average review score:

The Exeter Book Riddles
Published in Paperback by Boydell & Brewer (September, 1990)
Author: Kevin Crossley-Holland
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I was enthralled with this book. I had never encountered Anglo-Saxon riddles before, and they're a delight - not your stupid Elephant riddles, but elegant poems, each one describing something in a teasing way.
The book has the riddle on one page and the explanation on the next, so when I was reading them I used to make sure I didn't look ahead until I'd solved it. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn't. But it's more fun than a crossword puzzle. (And sometimes those ol'Anglo Saxons surprise you - wait till you get to the one about "I grow upright in a bed... hairs underneath..." I won't spoil it by telling you the answer!

The Ugly Duckling
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (09 October, 2001)
Authors: Kevin Crossley-Holland, Meilo So, H. C. Grimme Lling Andersen, and Meilo So
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A new look and touch to the traditional tale
Kevin Crossley-Howard retells this classic, with Meilo So's Asian-inspired paintings adding a new look and touch to the traditional tale. An oversized, ugly duckling finds new life in his looks as he grows into his abilities in this warm story.

Wordhoard: Anglo-Saxon Stories
Published in Hardcover by Farrar Straus Giroux (January, 1969)
Authors: Kevin Crossley-Holland and Jill Paton Walsh
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Unique and fascinating!
This book is a collection of fictional Anglo-Saxon stories revolving around both ordinary and extraordinary people. From the first story of early Saxon conquest to the last story about King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings, the book will grip you. This is a must-read for any Anglo-Saxon buff.

Norse Myths
Published in Library Binding by Bt Bound (September, 1981)
Authors: Kevin Holland and Kevin Crossley-Holland
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Tolkien fans take note...
...there's a LOT of stuff in here that the Lord Of The Rings author used in his Middle-earth series of books. For example, let's look at some of the names of the dwarfs that Kevin Crossley-Holland includes in his notes for Myth 1 ("The Creation"): Bifur, Nori, Gandalf (!), Thorin, Fili, Kili, Thror, Thrain, Gloin, Dori, Ori, etc. Anyone familiar with Professor Tolkien's work probably had a cacophany of bells ringing in there head upon reading that. Note also that the name in the Norse myths for the plane of existence where humans live (as opposed to Asgard, the world of the gods, and Niflheim, the world of the dead) is Midgard, which translates into modern English literally as "middle earth".

I could go on and on, but I might make it sound as though this collection is not worth reading in its own right - which is certainly not the case.

It took me a little while to get through this book, though I suspect that that had more to do with (a) the fact that I have not been in much of a "reading mood" in the last few weeks, and (b) that I am one of those crazy people that insists upon reading each and every footnote as it comes up, than it did with the intrinsic interest of the material within. In fact, I was pleasantly suprised at just HOW entertaining and humorous a lot of these myths are. I've always felt that a lot of the old myths and religious texts (including a lot of the biblical ones) were structured as much for maximum entertainment value as they were for spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Crossley-Holland, as he states a few times in his notes, agrees, and retells many of the myths in a light, breezy style that perfectly suits their comical nature. I'm particularly thinking here of "The Lay of Thrym", the hilarious tale of Thor's hammer Mjollnir was stolen, and of how he got it back.

In conclusion, I can't really compare Crossley-Holland's retellings of these Norse myths with any others, because, well... I haven't read any others (outside of the odd Marvel comic or two). But it seems to me that if this topic is of interest to you, you could find a lot of worse places than here to start.

Myths Recast as Stories
Even if you can read Icelandic, you still might want to read Holland's book. This is a great source for a retelling of the old Norse myths. Rather than merely translating, Holland decided to bring together all sources and "to retell the myths in new versions, and hope that they are both representative of the originals and full-blooded in their own right." I believe that he succeeded at the second task. I'm not enough of a scholar or time-traveller to judge his success at representing their original versions.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to Norse mythology. Most of the major stories are present. Holland retells the stories in the first part of the book, then provides insight into sources and other interpretations for each story in the back. His index, bibliography, and glossary are quite useful.

The myths are quite readable, suitable even for bedtime reading for older children. This book would make a great resource for a middle- or a high-school report. For those contemplating college level work, get direct translations of the Eddas and of Saxo Grammaticus. Even for college level work, Holland can serve as a roadmap to the primary sources.

Where Holland fails (and he fails miserably), is his failure to unwrap the Vanic from the Aesic traditions in the myths. Metzner has shown in The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe that the uncritical blending of these two traditions gives a different character to Norse mythology. In spite of this failing, however, Holland's book serves as a good introduction to the subject and primes the reader for more research, either directly into the Eddas, or for the work of Metzner and of H. Ellis Davidson.

Entertaining while educating....
I picked this book up after I ran across many kindred websites suggesting this as text that would help one to understand norse mythology. Before C-H even begins the tales, he sets up a general overview for you so that you are "on familiar ground" when you are reading the myths and have an understanding of the layout of the worlds. What is even more pleasing is that he has a picture layout of the nine worlds (for those who like 'visuals'). The Myths were set up in a storytelling format that is easy to read and otherwords its not 'textbook' style. Also, he has a lot of notes for each tale at the back of the book that go into depth about all the texts he used in his retelling of the stories as well as some interpertation of what the stories were getting at. I highly recommend this book for those people who are interested in learning about norse mythology

Beowulf: The Fight at Finnsburh (Oxford World's Classics)
Published in Paperback by Oxford University Press (April, 1999)
Authors: Heather O'Donoghue and Kevin Crossley-Holland
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An epic Anglo-Saxon poem of ancient days
I was alerted to the existence of this epic poem through an animated version of it on TV one Sunday afternoon, not the usual cartoon-like presentation but a wondrous dark expression akin to Ridley Scott or the animation first used in the animated version of "The Lord of the Rings". This short feature was really quite superb and it gave me the impetus to buy a copy of it in book form. Similarly this translation by Crossley-Howard is wonderful in all its epic proportions, the Grendel, its mother and the struggle to defeat it. It is of course a heroic tale and the hero Beowulf is certainly in the classic mold after all it was poetry such as this and related tales eg The Iliad, Norse Sagas to name just two which originated the idea of the hero in present form. It must be remembered that this is an Anglo-Saxon tale at or around the 6th Century AD and as such based in Denamrk or Sweden rather than England (named after them of course). Strictly speaking it does not represent an aspect of English history rather a representation of Scandinavian life of the time. It may as such bear some resemblance to Norse sagas which were to yet to come some 300 or 400 years later. As a window on Ango-Saxon ife it does reveal some aspects such as the character of men and women or rather how they were supposed to be, similarly it shows that human affairs haven't really changed that much since then and the commonly held belief that ancient times were primitive in compasrison to today are mistaken. All aspects of human personality are present, such as greed, corruption, anger, heroism, kindness and so on. A wonderful read given a short time available.

I love this book.
I love this book. I read this book in English 4 for my senior year when we were discussing the Anglo-Saxon period.

Beowulf, a bood I had to read...
Being in English class I had to read this book over the summer. So I did. I thought it would stink like Grapes of Wrath (sorry, didn't like that book.), but it didn't. So read this book, it's like reading a Rambo story.

The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press).)
Published in Paperback by Oxford University Press (June, 1999)
Author: Kevin Crossley-Holland
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A Fine Sampler
Another gem of the Oxford World's Classics series, Crossley-Holland's anthology presents a generous selection of poetry and prose covering the major genres of Anglo Saxon Lit. All the famous stuff is here -- Seafarer, Wanderer, Battle of Maldon,etc -- including a very fine Beowulf translation that's highly readable without straying far from the literal meaning of the original. Plus riddles, laws, sections of the Chronicle -- quite enough to get a rounded picture of this fascinating literature, and all well translated. The scholarly notes are sparse but adequate for an intro-level text. If I could make one suggestion for improvement, it would be to add the Anglo-Saxon versions in a bilingual edition, so readers could have the sound and structure of the originals.

beautiful renderings of the elegies
I bought this book in an old edition paperback form in Dublin because it contained the major elegies such as the Wanderer and the Seafarer. I ended up being extremely satisifed not only with the beautiful translation of the Wanderer, but with all of the selections and with Crossley-Holland's comments. I was very thrilled to meet him recently at a reading in Seattle, where he was promoting his Arthur trilogy. I'll have to check that out.

The Seeing Stone
Published in Hardcover by Arthur A. Levine (June, 2003)
Author: Kevin Crossley-Holland
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The Seeing Stone
Katrina Clancy October 24, 2002

The Seeing Stone, Kevin Crossley~Holland, 0-439-43524-2

Having your wrist cut of for stealing doesn't seem fair. But for Arthur de Caldicot it is part of growing up in his country manor in England, 1199. This realistic fiction novel takes Arthur on an adventure as he tries to unlock his future, past, and present through a gift given to him by his dear friend Merlin.

The Seeing Stone was a roller coaster of emotions until the very end. Felling sympathy for the characters and also hate towards some. You can't be afraid of terrible things happening because this book is just like normal life. This book is also an extremely interesting book because the genre is realistic fiction. This genre seems to appeal to a lot of people because it allows you to use your imagination all the time. This story basically takes you on the ups and downs of the life of a family who lives on a manor and all their occupants. You won't want to put it down and you won't want to stop reading. While reading this book your understanding of how life was during the middle ages will increase but also the respect you had for people who lived during that time.

The Seeing Stone held my attention until the very last page but I wouldn't recommend it to people who don't really enjoy this genre because it would seem confusing at some points for them. It's also important to remember that life was very different for the characters of this book and they did undergo strong emotional a physical changes. The Seeing Stone is a thought provoking book and anyone who reads it should be proud of their newly acquired skill because this book was not that easy to understand at first. Most people will be drawn in quickly however, because it is really easy to connect with the main character and his life problems as a person in general. I personally loved this book and look forward to reading this sequel. The story is amazing, it holds you to the last page, and I can confidently say that Kevin Crossley~Holland is a terrific author.

The novel The Seeing Stone (Arthur Trilogy, Book One)
by Kevin Crossley-Holland was one of the most amazing that I have ever read. Just recently I read the harry potter series and since then have been waiting for another series of its quality and detail to come out, and this book completely went up to and over the level that harry potter was written at. If you like history, adventure, or even love in an novel, do yoursel a favor and buy this book. You will be extremely happy with this purchase.

A sheer delight.
A joy to read, aloud as well as silently.
Each chapter - and they all beg to be read aloud - is almost a snap shot into Arthur's life - and the end of the 12th century. People and places have great reality. And, for both readers and listeners, the seeing-stone offers the delight of recognition as the world of Arthur-in-the-stone unfolds.
Somehow, I am reminded of both Rosemary Sutcliffe and Dylan Thomas; this is a book that will only be lent to people guarranteed to return it! And now to the second volume (which is already available in Australia).

Published in Library Binding by Bt Bound (May, 2000)
Authors: Kevin Crossley-Holland and Charles Keeping
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A Very Readable Version Though I Still Prefer Raffel's
For those who have heard the names of Grendel and Beowulf and seen the epic alluded to in comic books, movies and Michael Crichton's EATERS OF THE DEAD, this version of the tale should serve as a good introduction.

The only other translation of BEOWULF I'm familiar with is the Burton Raffel one which I've read three times and still prefer to Heaney's. However, not knowing Old English, I can't say which is more accurate. Raffel does try to preserve the structure of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse while Heaney, as he notes in his introduction, never feels compelled to strictly follow that form though he does quite a bit.

However, I suspect many readers may find that old verse form strange, awkward, and a bit offputting, and, for them, this version of the old epic is probably the best. I always found the last third of the epic the most moving and melancholy, and, there, Heaney's translation is as powerful as Raffel's.

Finally an accessible translation
Years ago I read this wonderful epic for the first time and was enthralled with its terrific characters. Unfortunately the translation I read was very difficult to understand and I had problems trying to match characters with pronouns among other things. This translation has no such problems. It is very readable. The readability of the text obviously enhances the experience since one can concentrate on the content and not on the difficult language. Another nice feature is the inclusion of the original text. While I can not read it, it is certainly very interesting to compare.

The actually epic of Beowulf is a great knights tale that has been revived as a result of Tolkein's interest in the work. In my opinion it is the greatest epic ever written. While it is much shorter than say the Iliad, I certainly found it more entertaining. Beowulf's adventure's with Grendal and his mother(thank goodness none of our mother-in-laws were like this) can not be beat. Don't miss this enchanting tell.

I also highly recommend this book on tape read by Heaney. His Irish accent gives the story a dark ages feeling that really enhances the experience.

This Is What Tolkien Meant
After reading Tolkien's "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" as well as his epic fantasy, my own path was set: I became an English medievalist and, in fact, as a senior graduate student, taught Beowulf under the direction of William Alfred of Harvard before graduating and going on to become a writer of fantasy and science fiction.

I've tried to do my own alliterative translations: Mr. Heaney's translation comes as a delight for a number of reasons. Chief among them is this: he's the best poet to tackle BEOWULF since the original -scop-. Even 20 years after my grad school days, I read Old English. Heaney has produced a translation that is profoundly moving. If he sometimes diverges from the four-stress alliterative pattern, with the third stress being the main one, it's by design -- and he's explained it. He spares us the most convoluted kennings, but gives us, instead, the tautness, the spaces between the words, the pauses for thought, tension, and what Tolkien and Auden referred to as the Northern Thing -- the austere combination of faith and darkness that is Wyrd. It's a solid translation and a fine poem in Heaney's hands.

And it consoles me for not having a full translation by Tolkien and that John Gardner never lived to translate BEOWULF as he had hoped.

It is also delightful to consider that, for the first time since the death of T.S. Eliot, poetry is going to the top of the best-seller lists.

Mr. Heaney, although he is not a ring-giver, rings true, and has given us a great gift.

The World of King Arthur and His Court: People, Places, Legend, and Lore
Published in Hardcover by Dutton Books (October, 1999)
Authors: Kevin Crossley-Holland and Peter Malone
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A good intro to Arthurian legend for Kids
This is a charming picture book with very little substance in terms of telling legends. What little snippets of storyline are included in this book are toned down to a G rating. There is no mention of violence or romance, though there are some sections that describe how the legends influenced readers in the past. These sections on historical influence would seem to be too boring for young readers, which is the audience most of this book is geared for. Other than that, there is little criticism of this book so long as you intend to give it to seven year-olds.

King Arthur Lives.....
For those entranced by the magical stories of King Arthur, Excalibur, the Sword in the Stone, Lancelot, Guinevere, and the Knights of the Round Table, Kevin Crossley-Holland has written the quintessential book detailing the life and times of this charismatic hero and his court. Beautifully and painstakingly researched, and rich in history, trivia, fun facts, anecdotes, and legend, Mr Crossley-Holland brings medieval England and Camelot to life. Hear the many stories, among them Merlin, The Sword in the Stone, the Lady of the Lake, Sir Mordred, Marie de France, and Morgan le Fay. Learn the ways of the court and castle life, dressing, arms and armor, tournaments and tilting, love, quests and adventures, magic and magicians, troubadours, art, and so much more. His engaging and entertaining text is enhanced by Peter Malone's marvelously vivid artwork, and together these two transport the reader back in time to the enchanting world of chivalrous knights, lovely and fair maidens, and evil villains. Perfect for young lovers of the Arthurian legend, 12 and older, who have begun to ask the hard questions..."Did King Arthur exist? Was there really a court called Camelot? Where exactly was Arthur's kingdom? When did he rule? And what was he like?" Kevin Crossley-Holland gives the definitive answer..."To begin with, we scarcely need to know. When we first meet Arthur, we are caught up in a long dream we hope will never end." The legend lives. Believe and Enjoy!

The magic and romance of King Arthur and his court.
The World of King Arthur is an outstanding companion book for anyone interested in the Arthurian legends. The beautifully written entries explain the who, what, when and where of the Arthurian world.,(like, the difference between the sword-in-the stone and Excalibur, or what is known of the historical Arthur.) Also, scattered through the book are delightful nuggets like Kiss Me, How to be a Butler, Verb that Carving, In the the Midnight Garden. Translated from original sources they are wonderful windows into the medieval world. The illustrations are rich, inventive and instinctive. An absolutely gorgeous book, a delight to read and to look at, a must for Arthur fans.

Stones Remain: Megalithic Sites of Britain
Published in Paperback by Century Hutchinson (February, 1990)
Authors: Kevin Crossley-Holland and Andrew Rafferty
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