26Jul2018

Book #15: Stories of Beowulf

I know, you’re probably thinking, “She read Beowulf?  WHY??”  Aside from excerpts in college, I’ve never read Beowulf.  I always thought it was interesting, but never read the whole thing.  On impulse, I got a copy of Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children by H. E. Marshall, curious to see what my kids would think of it.

Marshall simplifies and cuts through the old English, but since this was written over a hundred years ago, it still felt “old” to my kids.  Since Marshall was cutting it down to the basic events of the story, it moved quickly and kept everyone engaged.  I read this aloud to kids ages seventeen down to eight and they universally loved it.  Out of curiosity, I also checked out a copy of a translation that was published recently and read a few passages from that, where it lined up with the story we had just read.  The kids caught on so much more to the lengthier, more difficult version because they already knew the story and then the beauty of the narrative was way more enjoyable.  It was a cool experience and made me think how much easier it would be to study great classics if at first you know the story.  I’m tucking away that bit of knowledge from my college-bound kids.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars, but only because it’s a bit gory.  Totally fine for 12 and up, but I wish I had watered it down a bit for my 8-year-old.

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Jenny

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has written 287 articles on Red Hot Eyebrows.

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