Saturday, September 25, 2010


In our history study we are now reading Beowulf. I confess, I've never read it, nor any abbreviated version, I apparently skipped it last time around. But this time, I have sons who, shockingly (or not), love all things to do with battles, swords, evil creatures, dragons, and good vs. evil. So yesterday I began reading this version to my three youngest based on a recommendation of a friend.
WOW! Is it ever delightful. The illustrations are beautiful, the text is captivating and not written in simple sentence form or with simple words. But wonderfully descriptive sentences like this:
"So Beowulf went to his bed, and his men too, but in truth they slept only fitfully, for there was not one of them, not even Beowulf himself, who could be certain how the night would end, whether any of them would ever again see the light of dawn." (pg 26)

or like this:
"Grisly, grim, and gruesome --- no one word could describe this ghoul of the deep." (pg 48)

I began reading it yesterday afternoon. My daughter asked to color the picture I had for them while she listened, while her brothers asked to play with their Playmobil knights and dragons while listening. By the end of the first "chapter," Beowolf and Grendel, the Monster of the Night, they all were sitting doing nothing except hanging on every word I was reading.

I stopped and let them go (admittedly I was so tired for whatever reason I was having trouble keeping the eyes open). After a resting my eyes for about 20 minutes, my youngest son came back and asked if I could write down his narration for this part of the story. An aside - for much of our history study, we read and then the children narrate back what was read. Boy oh boy, did he like this story as I could barely keep up with all the words spilling out of his mouth as he retold the story to me.

They all asked for me to read more that evening, so while their father and older sisters were out to eat, I read the next "chapter" entitled Beowulf and the Sea-Hag. This time they didn't even ask to color or play, they wanted to snuggle beside me and look at the illustrations and absorb every word of the story.

Now they can't wait until we are able to finish the book by reading the last "chapter," Beowulf and the Death-Dragon of the Deep. I can't either. This is a fantastic story. I think I want to buy a copy of this book for our own and I also want to join in reading Beowulf with the two older girls when they begin reading it in a couple of weeks after finishing Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.


Laura said...

Do you have a fireplace? Is there one at the church...hey, we have one. We read this story and my kids liked it, as well...but I wish I would have read it in a room lit only by a fire. If you don't have one you can envision it, right? It would be sooo cool.

Glenda said...

Oh Laura that would be sooo cool!

Yes I can envision it, and now I'm wishing even more there was a place for a fireplace.

Oh well, we finished it today and the kids were simply enthralled. It will definitely be on my "to buy" list!

Elephantschild said...

We got our copy from Daedalus Books (remaindered books) for just a few bucks.

Dh started it last night. I love that it's beautifully written, unlike many adaptations of more difficult, "adult" literature.

Bikermom said...

I love that book! Matthew and I are reading it again now too.