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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captures the excitement - if not the poetry
Dragon Slayer is a gripping retelling for younger audiences of England's oldest epic. I read it when I was nine, ten years before my first encounter with the real Beowulf at university.
I would have to say that Rosemary Sutcliffe has got it almost exactly right for her target age group, and she makes it a great story which I would recommend to any child. The...
Published on 27 Feb 2004 by Martin Turner

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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf
Beowulf is a great warrior who went to kill the creature Grendel who had been terrorising a Viking town. The great Beowulf defeated the creature by tearing off his arm. But then Grendel's evil dragon mother seeks revenge and attempts to kill the almighty Beowulf but they fall in love. So what can go wrong, Beowulf has fallen in love with a dragon and so betrayed his...
Published on 3 May 2011 by Puniey


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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captures the excitement - if not the poetry, 27 Feb 2004
By 
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
Dragon Slayer is a gripping retelling for younger audiences of England's oldest epic. I read it when I was nine, ten years before my first encounter with the real Beowulf at university.
I would have to say that Rosemary Sutcliffe has got it almost exactly right for her target age group, and she makes it a great story which I would recommend to any child. The terrifying violence of the fight with Grendel, through to the final, heroic stand against the dragon is all there. All the non-essentials are stripped out, and Sutcliffe takes us straight into the story without over-explanation.
This is the _story_ of Beowulf: it's not a translation of the poem nor is it a version of the poem for younger readers. And it's a very good story.
The original poem, though, has three more things that this retelling doesn't cover.
First, the language of Beowulf is absolutely riveting. This doesn't come across in any translation I've seen, although Sutcliffe does do a good job in this retelling of giving us the occasional glimpse of it.
Second, the rhythm of Beowulf is powerful and heroic. Various translators have tried to reproduce this, but usually at the expense of clarity. Sutcliffe wisely sticks to prose.
Third, Beowulf is a poem full of digressions - half told stories which fill the poem with greater meaning. These aren't part of this retelling, which is, once again, a wise choice given Rosemary Sutcliffe's audience.
This is a marvellous book to read, and it's also a good book to read aloud in support of a project about the Anglo-Saxons.
If you are reading it to children, it's worth giving them just a glimpse of the sound of the original by reading out loud the first few lines and the last few lines of the poem in Old English - or getting someone who can to put it on a tape for you. Just a snatch of the first poet's voice, to take them back to days dark under the clouds, and as a fitting memorial to a warrior and king who was 'leodum lithost ond lofgeornost'.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bold retelling of a great dark age tale, 4 Sep 2001
This review is from: Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
My interest in the works of Rosemary Sutcliff was re-awakened a couple of years ago. It followed a newspaper article reminiscing on the smoke filled long halls full of warriors and bards, evoking the imagery of the sagas of the Dark Ages. I had read a good number of her books when I was at school but despite the fact that my school days are decades ago I felt compelled to re-explore her work.
Beowulf is one of my favourite stories. I recently read an abridged version to my children and I was forced by them to read passages aloud from this work too.
I read Heaney's translation last year and Sutcliff's version is fairly faithful to the original as far as I can tell.
It's fast paced, the imagery is strong - it's just how it should be. Sutcliff does Beowulf justice - even though I am sure I am a good bit older than her target audience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden Moral by d10 snmas, 13 Dec 2010
A Kid's Review
Firstly I would like to state that this is an incomparable book to read, even though I must say I am an avid fan of a range of books.
Rosemary Sutcliff has portrayed 'Beowulf' as an excellent example of an Anglo-Saxon book. She has used an immense variety of kenning but keeps it to a minimum to let the words flow. She allows her techniques to bind together in each paragraph with subtly. She writes this book like music; one minute action packed, the next a bit slack. Her habits of expressing things are so brilliant that she sometimes tend to go a bit above expectations. But most of her language is incomprehensible and unpronounceable that you would need a chapter or so to get used to her fashion .Even though her ending brings a tear to our eyes, this makes us pays attention to the moral of the story.

Beowulf is firstly described with 'strength that could out-wrestle the great Northern bear...' and his last description as a life-saver. Surely you may think Rosemary Sutcliff over-exaggerates his abilities but this may be true, yet she writes it in such a way that you wouldn't care about her flaws. One of the reasons I think she did not do up to the best of standards is because she did not describe Hrothgar and Beowulf's relationship in a passionate way that she could of done. That is way I had barely any remorse of Hrothgar's death. But the style she builds up in the climax is so tense and outspoken that you would not dare to put your book down, unfortunately our English teacher cut off at that bit where unanswered questions would be asked; " does Beowulf defeat all the monsters?", " what happens to Hrothgar?" and the famous "What's going to happen next?". Also the fighting scenes are so detailed that every nuance is described clear with an interesting language to set the mood. Lastly, I would like to notify the hidden moral of this story is not to boast your riches like Hrothgar, because one day you would get your revenge.
I would highly recommend this book to all readers, but probably above 10 years of age. I would cajole all enjoyers of adventurous books (even at rudimentary) to take at least a peek at one of Rosemary Sutcliff's greatest produce yet!
by
A Fellow Latymerian
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Beowulf' by Rosemary Sutcliff (Written by Neal Patel), 13 Dec 2010
A Kid's Review
Review of Beowulf

In this gripping novel Rosemary Sutcliff has taken us back to the times of misery in the land of the Danes when Grendel the night-stalker brought terror to the nights in Denmark. King Hrothgar has grown too old and calls for a young hero to defeat the beast. Beowulf sister's-son to Hygelac sails from Geatland to serve for Hrothgar as he had helped Hygelac. Though Grendel takes more lives and demolishes Hrothgar's Hall, Beowulf still wants revenge and goes off to find the death-shadow, but will he come back?

The book is full of exciting adjectives and descriptions and it really does make you feel like you are there with them. Even though it is quite short Rosemary Sutcliff has managed to vacuum pack the story with incredible detail and thought with the exact mixture of description, to create this thrilling book that you cannot put down. The Anglo-Saxon style of writing was very well written with lots of kennings and interesting language.

I thought that the plot of the story was also fantastic and you just could not predict what would happen next. One minute Beowulf was fighting Grendel, another minute he would be fighting the dragon, it was fantastic.

The interesting use of language has inspired me to write like this; with lots of description, kennings and adjectives and it really does add that spark of imagination to any piece of creative writing. The intricate style is very enjoyable to read as you have to puzzle out what the book is telling you.

This book is nearly faultless though things that I would change would be: the opening paragraph as I don't think that you can understand what is happening the first time that you read it as you get lost on where they are and what they are doing. Also if the book is being read aloud, unless you have studied the book you probably will not be able to pronounce the names with the traditional spellings.

Overall I would rate this book four out of five as it is a fantastic book however with a few faults as listed above. I really enjoyed reading this book and even though it is quite a short read it is a very worthwhile one. I have enjoyed every page, in fact every sentence and it is just one of those fun and interesting books that you just have to read.

Written by Neal Patel
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb version of the Beowulf Story, 8 Sep 2013
By 
Asmodeous (North Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a superb version of the Beowulf story - told by the master storyteller Rosemary Sutcliff. Fully deserving of all the positive reviews - bringing classic stories (alongside the Takes of Troy and Wandersings of Odysseus) to a modern audience. Beautifully written - and much more than children's literature. Her stories can be enjoyed by adults equally as much as the children. Indeed if you are an adult reader and pass Rosemary Sutcliff by then you have made huge error and denied yourself a wonderful teller of stories. Famed for the book Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff produced a large number of very readable, moving and powerfully written exciting stories, fully deserving a reputation as one of Britain's finest writers. If you are studying the classic Beowulf for a language course then give this lighter but thoroughly exciting version a read, if you enjoyed the film with Ray Winstone then give it a go - it is even better!
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5.0 out of 5 stars childrens book, 1 Aug 2013
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purchased this for one of my grand children to get him interested in the Kindle, they were reading it in one of the school lessons so now Kindle has another fan
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf for younger readers, 1 Oct 2011
This review is from: Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics)Very few stories are still being told after so long and after so many re-tellings. The Beowulf poem has been honed and embellished by the imaginations of many storytellers. Its spell as a tale is that it displays the beginnings of the conventions of folk stories, but does not quite obey them all, keeping the listener guessing as to what will happen next.

THe Sutcliffe telling of Beowulf places the story on a simple timeline, with a beginning, middle and end. Many characters and emotions are there, the mysterious queens and their women, who enter the men's dining hall once only to pour mead and speak wise words. The jealous jester who tries to belittle Beowulf, but then later gives him his precious sword. Grendel's hideous mother, who is even worse than the monster himself. Children and parents will recognise the fury and dread of the fearsome mother who seeks terrible revenge, despite her repulsive nature. Sutcliffe's telling captures the complexity of the tale, and the emotions and loyalties of the players. Her words hark back to the poetry of the original, so this version is just made for reading aloud. It's broken into short chapters, which would be suitable for an evening read, but maybe not too close to bedtime!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super, 6 July 2011
By 
Birmingham Book Reader (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
As with any Rosemary Sutcliffe book the Dragon Slayer is super and really gripping. Not a original but a great retelling for young people of the epic "old" peom Beowuf.

I first reda this at school when around 10/11 years of age - as an adult can still read it and enjoy the story. There are some scary pages perhaps for very young readers (and the not so young!) - but in no way does that distract from a great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEOWULF DRAGON SLAYER REVIEW, 13 Dec 2010
This review is from: Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics) (Paperback)
Beowulf Dragonslayer by Rosemary Sutcliffe is what i would describe as a 'timeless classic'; it includes detail, descriptive language, suspense, excitement (battles and dragons!) and a great plot.

I enjoyed this book because it is very descriptive and vivid, and makes it seem like I am 'in' the book. I definetely enjoyed the part of the book where Sutcliffe explains that Beowulf's battle with the FireDragon would be his last battle. Even though most of my classmates did not think that was very well put I looked in to it and found out there are lots of questions that rise up like: How will he die? Will there be blood? Maybe Sutcliffe is lying? How could Beowulf die, he is supernaturally powerful? etc.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy or just wants to enjoy a book. Beowulf is only approximately 100 pages but every page is vital for you to understand the overall plot.

I would vote this book a 9.5/10 easily. I took away 0.5 of a mark because in the chapter, 'Grendel' straight away Grendel opens the gates of Hrothgar's Hall and immeadiately starts to tear apart the first of the thanes. To me there was not enough detail.

I enjoyed this book and i will definetely read it again!

13/12/10
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Beowulf the dragon slayer`by Roesmary Sutclif, 12 Dec 2010
A Kid's Review
Beowulf Dragon Slayer by Roesmary Sutcliff is a vivid and creative re-telling of an original Anglo-Saxon ,epic poem. The historical fiction of myth-like fantasy has been adapted making it an immensely enjoyable read for children age 9 and older.

It is the tale of Geatish warrior Beowulf who feels a debt of duty through loyalty to his father, towards king Hrothgar, whose men are being terrorised and slaughtered by an evil demon, named Grendel. Beowulf and his men sail across the' whale road' to defend the king and slay Grendel , but as the story unfolds, Beowulf must conquer other horrific demons and foes, testing his strength, endurance and belief.

The story is fast paced and action packed, it is a gripping tale, a book you cannot put down.

Although it is a short quick-read Sutcliff has given the characters great depth and vivid portrayal through her descriptive language. I also enjoyed the use of Anglo-Saxon words, making the story authentic, old and atmospheric.

There is no happy ending BUT there is a clear and powerful moral message, which describes Beowulf's life as courageous and honourable.

I would highly recommend this book to any reader who enjoys the heart pounding excitement and passion of a historic tale
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Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics)
Beowulf: Dragonslayer (Red Fox Classics) by Rosemary Sutcliff (Paperback - 5 July 2001)
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