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YOUNG GUINEVERE by Robert D. San Souci


by Robert D. San Souci & illustrated by Jamichael Henterly

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-41623-7
Publisher: Doubleday

A few fragments of legend—which San Souci, in a cursory note mentioning ``a variety of classic and contemporary sources,'' does not sort out from his own additions—are padded out to create a story about Guinevere as a girl who enjoys rambling the woods, where she encounters a unicorn and other legendary creatures; later, some of these figure in her urgent mission to the new King Arthur to request his aid against enemies besieging her father's castle. The story ends with Arthur and Guinevere's marriage, despite predictions of sorrow to follow. The narrative is accessible but too contemporary in style to suggest the flavor of heroic Arthurian Britain. Henterley cites eclectic inspirations—the Bayeaux Tapestry and the Book of Kells—for his carefully wrought but rather garish illustrations (sure to attract readers). His elfin, auburn-haired heroine is genuinely appealing, and, sure, this Guinevere is a strong female protagonist, but she's also a problematic pastiche of ancient romance and a thoroughly modern point of view. (Folklore/Picture book. 7-10)