HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Sword in the Tree
Author: Clyde Robert Bulla
Illustrator: Bruce Bowles
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, reprinted in 2000
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bulla, Clyde Robert. The Sword in the Tree (published in 1956 by HarperCollins Publishers). Clyde Robert Bulla is the author of over fifty books for children including The Secret Valley and The Story of Valentine’s Day. He has been writing since 1946 when he published his first book, The Donkey Cart. The title The Sword in the Tree is obviously a take-off on T. H. White’s The Sword in the Stone. Set in the days of King Arthur, it begins with a mighty oak tree within the walls of the castle of Lord Weldon, who has disappeared and is reported dead. Peace reigns in the castle until the fearsome night when Lionel, Lord Weldon’s long lost brother, returns to claim his brother’s estate, causing trouble and unhappiness. It was then that Shan, the son of Lord Weldon, takes on the duties of a knight and hides his father’s sword in the hollow of the giant oak. He and his mother must flee for their lives.
The days that follow are filled with adventures that try the courage of the young boy. Shan is surprised by bearded robbers in the woods. He meets noble knights in plumed helmets, and eventually he even makes a trip to high-towered Camelot for help in winning back his castle from his wicked uncle. His story is filled with the pageantry and color of England in King Arthur’s time. Bulla captures the spirit of those romantic days in a straightforward, exciting manner. The result is another delightful book for a wide audience of young readers. It creates a vivid picture of the Knights of the Round Table and the wisdom of King Arthur himself. I remember doing it as a read aloud for our boys, and all of us really liked it. If your children are interested in stories about King Arthur, they should enjoy this one.