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Best version of Beowulf for a 7yo boy?


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I purchased a version that was released last fall, by Dick Ringler. It's supposed to be for oral delivery. I was intrigued by it because of the lengthy introduction it included. I have to admit to not having had the chance to read it yet. I'd love to hear opinions on it if anyone else has read it yet.

 

One of the reviews states "Dick Ringler's deceptively simple translation captures the rhythm, movement, and power of the original Old English poem while employing a fluid modern English style and a relatively spare vocabulary." From a few quick scans I made through it, the vocabulary seems to be such that a 7yo should be fine.

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I recently purchased the new illustrated version by Michael Morpurgo (beautifully illustrated by Michael Foreman) to read next year with my up-and-coming 2nd grader. We haven't used it yet, next year is SOTW2/Medieval History for us, so I can't give a full review, but I did compare quite a few versions and here is why we chose this one:

 

We did our usual semi-annual drive down to an amazing local children's bookstore, and I spent some time going through a range of children's versions of Beowulf--yes, they had a whole shelf full! I chose this one because it covers the whole story (some versions have just the first half--this is 92 pages), readable yet substantial text (not just picture book captions), and though it is written in prose seems to have a good "feel" of the Anglo-Saxon poetry--the short, repetitive and somewhat choppy lines of Beowulf string together to tell the story, and the illustrations are lovely--every 2 page spread has at least 1 small picture, and there are some amazing 1 and 2 page paintings, even the pages with only text are decorated beautifully. I think it is a read-aloud for most 7 year olds.

 

Check it out here:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Beowulf-Michael-Morpurgo/dp/1406305979

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We read this version last year and thought it was very well done.

Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children

Author: Marshall, H.E.

 

StoriesOfBeowulf.jpg

 

The Anglo-Saxon saga retold in excellent English prose, with the heroic qualities emphasized. Relates how Beowulf, the hero of the Anglo-Saxons, came to Daneland and how he overcame Grendel, the ogre, and the waterwitch; also how the fire dragon warred with the Goth folk and how Beowulf fought his last fight. Published by Yesterday's Classics, this version is great for dialectic students.

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