Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle - Review

Robin Hood is one of my favorite legends.  I also have been meaning to read more classics so I was really happy to have read this book.  I read it for my Robin Hood Project Disney.  I didn't know where to go for source material for that movie but discovered this was one of the first books about Robin Hood. I thought this was a wonderful book about tales of Robin Hood finding his merry men.  The book has all kinds of his different adventures, we see him as a man with sharp knowledge and great talent with a bow.  I have recently taken archery lessons so I now know what talent it takes to hit a bullseye with an arrow. 

There were some Robin Hood legends that aren't mentioned in this book that I was looking forward to.  Maid Marian is not mentioned and neither is Prince John.  I read more about that and found out that those legends became popular after this book was published. The book of course takes a while to get into like most classics do for me.  I always have to get into the flow of the language used.  Once I did though the story worked for me.  I think though some of the stories did start sounding the same after a while ... Robin meets a guy and then fights him and then guy joins the merry men.

Statue in Nottingham
What I liked about the book is that we get to see when and why Robin Hood becomes an outlaw.  He is headed to town for an archery tournament and runs into some bandits.  One of the bandits he shoots and kills and then has to go into hiding.  While reading I wasn't really sure why exactly he killed him but Robin feels guilty about it for the rest of his life.  We see Robin help out others and eventually goes and works for the King.  At the end of the book we read about him returning to Sherwood Forest and eventually passing away.  Though the way he dies didn't really fit with the story to me I was still sad when he did die.

The Robin Hood legend is great.  I love it so much.  I love all the movies about him and would love to read more stores based on him. 

The crystal ball says: 
Clouds are covering! A read that lets me down every now and then but peaks out of the clouds!


  1. Great review, I've always liked Robin Hood but never read the original stories. It's amazing how many classics I've never read! Last year on vacation I came across The Children's Classics edition of Robin Hood in an Americana type store, and looking through it it has all these cool illustrations. The color ones in particular were awesome, including one of Sherwood Forest that just really evoked that sense of a primeval forest they were hanging out in. I thought I gotta have this book, asked if they would sell it (it was a display) and they agreed after calling the owner. Made my day!

    I thought it was the original stories because it has the old style language, but it does have a Maid Marian chapter so it must be a later edition and not the Pyle original. I'm so glad I got it but the binding is fragile, so I'll probably get a reading copy and read that and just display this one!

    Nice to see a review of this.

  2. shootingstarsmagMay 3, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    I don't know a lot about the Robin Hood legend, but that's cool you read one of the earlier stories! It's interesting to see how the story starts to change through the years.

    Lauren from

  3. I have never read the original book, I will have to check this out!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  4. I like how Robin Hood's back story is him trying to redeem himself for killing someone. It's sad but at least he knows he did the wrong thing and is trying to do right by others. Too bad Maid Marian and Prince John weren't there. I wonder if there is a sequel out there with those legends you mentioned about them.
    I'm so jealous that you are learning archery. I've wanted to for a while but it's really hard to find one near me. I think it must be on the rise because of Katniss. Although Robin Hood would also be a cool reason to get into it. Have you seen Robin Hood in Once Upon a Time? ~ Great actor portrayal.
    Great review!

  5. It is interesting. Word of mouth I suppose and tales and legends told to each other at night. Especially at the time this book was written.

  6. I like that Robin Hood is known throughout the Kingdom as the outlaw who won't kill people. So some of the other outlaws think of him as a joke. He does kill one more time in the book ... another outlaw who is sent by the Sheriff of Nottingham to kill him. This outlaw is very evil so everyone justifies this killing.

    I am getting Archery lessons from a guy whose card I found in a comic book shop. He only charges $10 an hour too. So you might want to see if there is an individual in your area who will teach you. The nice thing is he already has all the equipment and I can use his stuff.

    Oh and yes... Robin Hood on Once is fabulous!!! Love him and his back story with the Queen.

  7. That is a great story and a great find!!! It was hard to find the original source material for this. So your book could just be later Legends but still old to us. Pyle's book is considered a classic and it has some illustrations but they are from the publisher of this classic series (some publisher that I read for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). Your book sounds neat and pretty. You should do a review on it and take some pictures. I would love to see it!

  8. I didn't overly enjoy this book. I thought it got quite repetitive at times. I did enjoy it enough to write a pretty positive review on it, but I seriously struggled to finished this one. Don't regret reading it.

  9. I do agree.. the book is repetitive. Robin Hood finds someone.. there is a fight.. they join his Merry Men. Repeat. I was glad the archery tournament finally happened so that something new would happen in the world of Robin Hood. The book started to get too long because of the repetitiveness. 3 stars from me.

  10. I have The Adventures of Robin Hook by Paul Creswick here in my bookshelf but I have never gotten through it. He is not one of my favorite Disney characters, but come to think of it, I believe it is because I've never given him a chance. I must fix that pronto!
    Great review btw, it's a nice change to read reviews for classic books or books that aren't new releases, everyone sometimes keep forgetting how great they are even if they're a bit old.

  11. That's a great idea, I may have to do that. The version I have has the older language and phrasings, so I wonder if it's Pyle's work with some of the later legends added in. Hmm. Anyway I was happy to get it and reviewing it would be a blast! :)

  12. I agree... I try to go and read classics. I really actually enjoy them. I tend to feel like I read too much YA especially the new releases. I hadn't heard of the Paul Creswick edition but I would love to read it now that I have learned about it. I am glad someone appreciates that there are other reviews out there then the popular ones. I try to have a large mix on my blog though I suppose that turns some people away.

  13. Oh I've kinda been doing archery too! Haven't been in awhile though, but I did buy a bow so that means.... I should probably stop being lazy and go to the range more. :D I need to find someone who gives lessons for such a good deal though! I just go out and shoot arrows. :)

    I can see why this might be repetitive, but it's great to read one of the first takes on the Robin Hood story. I didn't know Robin became an outlaw after killing a bandit - it's a good backstory for him to feel that he needs to atone.

  14. I am really liking archery. I think we are going to buy a bow soon. The nice thing about having a bow already is that you don't have to pay for lessons to practice you can just go out and do it. The local state park just opened an amazing place to do archery and I can't wait to go there and try it out. I didn't think I would be that good at archery but actually I am doing really well at it.