Top positive review
Dated but still worthwhile
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2017
This 14th-century adventure book is surprisingly sweet and innocent, considering it includes scenes of battle, privation, and death. Originally published in 1949, and winner of a Newbery award, the story feels dated compared to books published more recently about medieval children's lives. It contains lots of factual tidbits about castles, transportation, monastic life, warfare, and other topics, carefully woven into the tale. A few of these seem anachronistic, such as the song Robin sings for the king - a song actually only a couple of hundred years old. But in fairness, more is known today about historical accuracy than was known seventy years ago. Robin is an appealing character, though he's at the far end of the curve in pushing himself to do tasks that are difficult or dangerous for him. The men who sometimes carry him and his crutches on their backs seem astoundingly strong, schlepping the ten-year-old up and down hills and stairs and towers without tiring; this I found somewhat unbelievable. But Brother Luke's mantra, "Thou hast only to follow the wall long enough and there will be a door in it," is as insightful and useful today as it was for Robin.