Adapted stories with modern illustrations to ease the understanding of classic literature.
Tracey Mayhew is a full-time school teacher and part-time writer of fantasy, horror, rom-coms and children's books. When she isn't teaching or writing, she can be found spending time with friends and family, hiking in the British countryside and watching any number of TV shows and movies.
With short chapter and large black-and-white illustrations, this series makes a traditional tale accessible for a young audience by organizing events from Arthurian legend into short episodes. The narrative employs dialogue and a fast pace to further engage readers.
Eight-year-old Merlin, drawn as a white boy with short brown hair, is an orphan abandoned by his human mother and demon father. Although young, he already possesses healing and prophetic powers. Unexpectedly, he is summoned by King Vortigern.
As a group of knights escort Merlin on his journey, he wishes he could be loved and admired like them, rather than judged with fear and suspicion. He soon meets Magan, the King's advisor, who is a druid with magical abilities.
This king wants to build a tower, but his efforts are repeatedly ruined as the earth rumbles and the tower collapses. Magan says the sacrifice of Merlin's blood will solve the problem. Merlin's vision, however, tells him that two dragons living in a lake beneath the mountain are what is making the tower fall. When the king drains the lake, the dragons come out and fight each other. One dragon dies, and several people are killed in the conflict as well. Magan acknowledges Merlin's capabilities and wants to take him to Avalon to train with the druids.
At the book's conclusion, Merlin foresees that King Vortigern will not defeat his enemies, but the ruler who comes after him will - a boy named Arthur Pendragon.
This traditional chapter book may open a door for readers to invite them to tackle more complex versions of the classic legend.-- School Library Journal