Today I’m sharing a couple of picture books we’ve enjoyed about the Medieval period. Sometimes I think our Medieval period studies are going to last as long as the Medieval period did, but when you have such fun book as these to enjoy and “fluff up” your studies, you don’t mind a bit. What’s more fun than castles and knights? Not much, I think.
At the risk of writing about a book that everybody already knows about, I’m going to say a bit about Aliki‘s A Medieval Feast. Aliki is known for her straightforward informational books for young children, and while this book is certainly straightforward, it is good for ages six to one hundred six! There is a very modest plot involving a lord who learns he’s going to host the king and his entourage as they make a journey. All of the work involved in preparing for the king’s visit is then described, from the cleaning of the manor house to the trapping of rabbits and birds to the cooking of elaborate dishes. The story ends with the end of the feast, with the guests eating until dark and anticipating even more food the next day. The story is straightforward but the illustrations are very colorful and detailed, with captions that provide even more detail. This is a book to sit and pore over. Highly Recommended. (Thomas Y. Crowell, 1983)
Come to the Castle by Linda Ashman is somewhat similar to A Medieval Feast as far as the storyline goes, but it is far more elaborate. It is also quite humorous in a tongue-in-cheek way, which isn’t really something that my girls are quite old enough to pick up on. Written entirely in verse form, Come to the Castle tells the story of a bored lord who orders a tournament to relieve his boredom. What follows is the rest of the story, the planning and carrying out of the tournament, from the perspective of everyone who does the work. My girls were most interested in the gong farmer:
No, I’m not aristocratic
(Frankly, I’m too aromatic).
Still, it takes great fearlessness
To toil in this vile mess,
Performing work that all eschew,
That even knights can’t bear to do.
My nose more valiant than the sword–
I am the noble Privy Lord.
(I never knew my “sweet little homeschooled girls” would have such an affinity for bathroom humor. ) S.D. Schindler‘s illustrations in this book are done in the style of an illuminated manuscript, with ornate lettering and detailed borders. This, too, is a book to study and pore over. I think this one might be better suited to children just a bit older than mine (maybe upper elementary through middle/high school), but I definitely give this one a Highly Recommended for an interesting and entertaining look at Medieval life. (Roaring Brook, 2009)
Spending all this time in cold, stony environs has really captured the girls’ imaginations, especially Louise’s. She has been drawing castles in her free time this week. Do you see the garderobe in this one? Every one of her castles has one.
Do you have a favorite picture book about the Medieval period? Do share!