Howard Pyle's Robin Hood is the first, the most beautifully illustrated, and the most complete of the many renditions for young people of the adventures of the famous yeoman-thief of Sherwood Forest. Pyle's is the quintessential Robin Hood on which later films and a television series were based, and the book has proven a perennial favorite, numbering among its enthusiastic readers the British poet William Morris as well as American presidents Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle remains the best book available for young readers on this enduring folk hero.
Like most of Pyle's works, Robin Hood is morally earnest. Pyle transforms the sly Robin Hood of the medieval sourceballads into a hero who is upright, compassionate, and unflinchingly honest.
Although considered a thief and outlaw, Robin Hood is nevertheless presented in this work as a moral force in a world that allows the rich and powerful to take ruthless advantage of the poor and defenseless. Although he is technically a criminal, Robin is more honest than his foe, the Sheriff of Nottingham, who is charged with upholding the law. A just man, Robin Hood is a fugitive from justice. He is also more charitable than the various hypocritical churchmen he encounters. Pyle's Robin Hood exemplifies the virtues of justice, fair play, generosity, and compassion that the author felt were essential qualities of mature adulthood.
Pyle's moralizing does not, however, take away from Robin's fast-paced adventures in and around Sherwood Forest. Pyle relates these traditional tales with an incomparable zest, generosity of spirit, and unfailing good humor. Even after more than a century, this version of the Robin Hood legend engages modern readers—young and old alike—with its sprightly innocence, nobility, pathos, and bittersweet nostalgia for a golden age when humans lived harmoniously with nature.
provides an exciting, joyous, and ultimately moving narrative for those readers patient and sophisticated enough to meet its stylistic demands.
The beautiful illustrations in this work round out the narrative to make for a memorable and most enjoyable reading experience.