For: Early/Middle Grades
Finished: Aug. 13, 2008
This was my first foray into the tales of Robin Hood. It was easy-to-read and probably would give young people a good feel for Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and Marian, the merry men, and some of the medieval history that surrounds these legends. The protagonist's name throughout the book is Dummy, which put me off every single time I read it. Sure, the poor kid couldn't speak, but...
Well, anyway, a mute orphan boy of an unknown age (ten? twelve?) runs away from his evil master and stumbles upon Robin Hood and his crew in Sherwood Forest, who take him under their wing/s. He finds food and kindness and even love from this gang, which makes him begin to have memories of his totally forgotten childhood. As he learns to become a topnotch archer, confidant to Robin, and expert rider, we are privvy to some of the mischievous shenanagans that Robin Hood pulls while trying to trick the Bishop of Hereford and the Sheriff of Nottingham. We realize that Robin Hood and his gang are devout Christians, loyal still to the missing King Richard, who do, indeed, steal from the rich and give to the poor. There's a very tidy ending, Dummy discovers who he really is, everyone lives happily ever after...etc.
This book would certainly give young readers a taste of Robin Hood. Just a taste, all cleaned up (though there are a couple of killings, most of the story is pretty tame). I'm going to have to read more widely about the tales of Robin Hood before I can better say how worthwhile this book really is.