Cover image for The world of King Arthur and his court : people, places, legend, and lore
The world of King Arthur and his court : people, places, legend, and lore
Crossley-Holland, Kevin.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [1998,1999]

Physical Description:
125 pages : color illustrations, color map ; 27 cm
Surveys the known history of King Arthur, the legends and lore surrounding him, his treatment in literature, and the possible historical background of his associates and stories.
General Note:
"Originally published in Great Britain 1998 by Orion Children's Books, London"--T.p. verso.

Includes index.
Reading Level:
NC 1200 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.5 3.0 34722.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.5 6 Quiz: 19265 Guided reading level: Y.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA152.5.A7 C76 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DA152.5.A7 C76 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DA152.5.A7 C76 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DA152.5.A7 C76 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Questions about King Arthur abound: Did King Arthur really exist? What was he like? Where exactly was his kingdom? This mixture of legend, anecdote, fact, and speculation frames the answers to such questions by showing that in the long run they may not be all that important. Sifting through both literary and historical sources, Kevin Crossley-Holland illuminates the essential aspects of King Arthur's chivalrous world that have kept people returning to it for inspiration and entertainment down through the ages.Here are the passionate, magical stories of the king and his sword, Excalibur; of Mordred, King Arthur's villainous son; of the enchanters Merlin, Nimue, and Morgan le Fay; of Lancelot and Guinevere. Here too are the daily lives of knights and ladies and pages; instructions on how to be a butler; and much more.Witty, engaging excerpts from medieval texts create a palpable feel for how human behavior was instructed and commented upon so many hundreds of years ago. Peter Malone's exquisite paintings glow like brilliant jewels, giving visible testimony to the author's claim that "medieval men and women'understood how each drop of water, leaf, and stone had an energy of its own."

Author Notes

Kevin Crossley-Holland is a well-known poet, a prize-winning children's author, and a translator.

Crossley-Holland has translated Beowulf and The Exeter Book of Riddles from the Anglo-Saxon. He has collaborated with composers Nicola Lefanu (The Green Children and The Wildman), Rupert Bawden (The Sailor's Tale), Sir Arthur Bliss, William Mathias, and Stephen Paulus.

Crossley-Holland's book The Seeing Stone won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Smarties Prize Bronze Medal, and the Tir na n-Og Award. The trilogy has won critical acclaim and been translated into twenty-five languages. His recent and forthcoming books are The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood, Bracelet of Bones and his new and selected poems The Mountains of Norfolk.

Crossley-Holland often lectures abroad on behalf of the British Council and offers poetry and prose workshops and talks on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, King Arthur, heroines and heroes, and myth, legend and folk-tale.

Kevin Crossley-Holland is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, a patron of the Society for Storytelling, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives on the north Norfolk coast in East Anglia with his wife and children.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-7. A handsome compendium of information, legend, and brief excerpts from medieval works, this book presents a veritable collage of materials related to King Arthur. A full-page illustration of Lancelot's unrequited love, Elaine of Astolat, faces a few paragraphs summarizing her story. The next spread identifies in a few lines each, "The Leading Ladies" of the legends. Then a page, entitled "Dressing Your Lord," consists of four paragraphs beginning "Humbly ask your lord to come and stand or sit beside the fire, where it is warm." The information is identified only by the words "Book of Nurture: John Russell." Peter Malone's paintings add distinction to the eclectic text with their glowing heraldic colors and rather dreamlike interpretations of people and settings. Readers hoping to research Arthurian material will find the disorganization and lack of bibliography or source notes trying. However, readers enamored of the period and the lore may enjoy dipping into this beautifully illustrated book. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Liberally studded with sophisticated paintings and miniatures, this comprehensive trove of Arthuriana will delight young readers with a taste for history. Crossley-Holland (Storm) utilizes an encyclopedia-like format, devoting a few pages to "Knights, Knighthood and Chivalry," a spread to "The Thirteen Treasures of Britain," a page to the Crusades, etc. He introduces key characters, describes daily life for lords and ladies and their servants; he quotes Chaucer on outfitting a knight, and gives lessons from the Book of Nurture on being a proper butler ("Never huff and puff bad breath up your master's nose"). The eminently browsable structure meets its match in Crossley-Holland's dramatic prose style: "Powerful and attractive, mysterious, vulnerable, and vengefulÄlike lake waters, the Lady of the Lake is all of these things." Elsewhere, he describes Geoffrey of Monmouth's History as "a kind of best-selling, patriotic, historical novel." Malone (The Magic Flute) borrows medieval and Renaissance subjects and compositions, but while his palette is rich with blues and greens and golds, his sensibility is definitely contemporary, particularly his use of space. Lavish with detail, both his full-spread paintings and his spot illustrations are ripe with mystery and romance. If ever a book could ignite a passion for Camelot, this is it. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-The perennial fascination with the stories of King Arthur and his knights dates from the early Middle Ages and continues to the present. In this volume, Crossley-Holland has gathered bits of the legends and pieces of medieval writing to immerse readers in images from the Matter of Britain. He begins with short essays on knighthood, chivalry, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, the 12th-century Welsh priest who first wrote of Arthur, but there is no clear organization to the rest of the volume. Gawain, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, and Merlin all have a few pages devoted to them, interspersed with essays that cover food and clothing, the Crusades, courtly love, etc. All are profusely illustrated in bright color with full-page pictures or page decorations. Occasional snippets of medieval writing such as carols, poems, or "how to" advice on dressing a lord or serving as a butler lend variety to the writing, but seem to be placed randomly throughout the text. The last piece discusses the difficulty of uncovering the "Historical Arthur," a figure from a much earlier time than the stories that place him in the medieval period. An index aids in finding specific pieces. This volume serves as a companion to any version of the stories, for those who want to sort out characters and for background information as they read.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.