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Children's Fiction Classics

Tales of Court and Castle

by (author) Joan Bodger

illustrated by Mark Lang

introduction by Ken Setterington

Initial publish date
Nov 2003
Classics, Anthologies, Arthurian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2003
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


Selected by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education as one of the 2004 Best Children’s Books for the Year

The late Joan Bodger was known internationally as one of our foremost storytellers. At the heart of her repertoire were the great medieval tales of lords and ladies, treachery, and chivalry. Among these beautiful courtly tales from Europe are the stories of Tristan – young and old – Childe Rowland, Burd Janet, and Iron John.

These are stories that were heard at the long tables of the great halls, stories repeated around modest peat fires in cozy cottages, stories that traveled with the tellers across the seas. Tales of Court and Castle is an irresistible invitation to young readers to discover stories of enduring power.

About the authors

Joan Bodger wrote numerous books for children and was a regular reviewer for the New York Times. In Canada, she helped found the Storytellers School of Toronto, Tales of the Winter Hag is the only audio recording of her stories.

Joan Bodger's profile page

Mark Lang's profile page

Ken Setterington is a librarian, storyteller, author and reviewer. He was named the first Children and Youth Advocate for Library Services for the Toronto Public Library. He has been an active storyteller and published retellings of The Snow Queen and The Wild Swans. In 2003, with co-author Deidre Baker, he wrote A Guide to Canadian Children’s Books. He lives with his partner in Toronto.

Ken Setterington's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“This book is a great purchase for storytellers and lovers of medieval tales alike.”
Montreal Review of Books
“The stories are all interesting and have many elements that would appeal to young readers…”
CM Magazine
“The illustrations are striking… Tales of Court and Castle is recommended for both public and school libraries…”
Resource Links
“The late Joan Bodger’s voice still mesmerizes…. Bodger recreates the flavour of the tales…. Excellent read-alouds.”
The Toronto Star

User Reviews

Medieval Tales

A collection of medieval tales of knights, kings and princess, mostly Welsh, from renowned late Canadian storyteller Joan Bodger. These are short tales and are meant for children, they have been captured here in print but are meant for reading aloud. The stories are vivid and full of wonder and do beg to be spoken aloud. I'd never heard of Bodger before and this is just a short sampling of her work to whet the appetite of what she must have been like to hear live. The illustrations that accompany the text are gorgeously detailed line drawings.

1) Young Tristan - Tristan's story of how he won back his land as King but gave it up to serve King Mark as a knight. A Welsh tale.

2) To the Dark Tower - a grand retelling of the Childe Roland poem, with some verses kept between the narrative. Also has Merlin in it.

3) Iron John - This tale is new to me! A cursed forest and a naughty prince whose curiosity begets him the favour of the man-creature living in the forest. This has it all: curses, enchantments, and princesses to be won.

4) Burd Janet - Burd Janet rescues Tamlane [sic] from the servitude of the Elf Queen.

5) The Warrior Queen - An Irish King and Queen are talking in bed and arguing over who is better, richer, has more, etc, and inevitably this "pillow talk" leads to all the troubles in Ireland. This one is pretty wordy and I'd see it going over better orally than being read silently.

6) The Roman Emperor and the Welsh Princess - I can't place this to any true story or tale I've heard before but, a Roman emperor dreams of the most beautiful woman in the world. She is finally tracked down and found to be a Welsh Princess. After much battle, winning the British Isles, and taking back Rome from a usurper they rule the Roman Empire for many years.

7) Tristan Hero - And the book comes full circle with the heroic tale of Tristan's death.

Other titles by Joan Bodger

Other titles by Mark Lang

Other titles by Ken Setterington