Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Newbery: The White Stag

Reading (or rereading) through the Newbery Medalists and Honor books is a challenging yet rewarding adventure. Occasionally, I revisit childhood favorites. Other times, I finally get around to reading books that I’ve been meaning to read, but just haven’t made the time to read. And other times, I’m confronted with a book that has just absolutely fallen off the radar. The White Stag belongs in the last category.

Kate Seredy’s legend of the Huns’ and Magyars’ migration from Asia to Europe is lyrically written, but it’s such an odd and somewhat inaccessible book that even though it’s one of the shortest Newbery winners, I really had to struggle through it. Admittedly, mythology is not really my bag. I suspect that looking at this book through 21st century eyes (particularly post World War II eyes-the book won the Medal in 1938) lessens my enjoyment and appreciation. It’s a rather sympathetic portrayal of Attila the Hun, which is quite a different interpretation of the man than the one most have of him today.

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