Sunday, January 01, 2017

The Apple and the Arrow

The Apple and the Arrow. Mary and Conrad Buff. 1951/2001. HMH. 80 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: "Missed it again. Go and find the arrow, Rudi, will you? It fell near that old rotten log over there--the one with the big hole in it."

Premise/plot: Walter Tell loves his father William very much. He's proud to be his son, the son of one of the best bowmen ever. And he's a bit proud that he's old enough and responsible enough to hold such important secrets, secrets that could endanger the lives of his father and other men of the community of Uri. You see, come New Year's Day, the men are planning to revolt against the Austrians. The year is 1291. And the nation of Switzerland is a mere idea in the minds of men and women who long for freedom.

My thoughts: I'd heard a tiny bit about William Tell before. (The shooting an apple off his son's head thing.) I liked this one so much more than I thought I would. It is a Newbery Honor book from the 1950s. (So many Newbery winners and honors are set in medieval times.) I liked the faith elements in this one. So little is said about God and about prayer.

Favorite quotes:
War means starvation and death, not only for soldiers, but for women and children too. War always means that. (17)
Dear Lord, Father of all men, look down upon us this great night. Be with us when the bells ring, when the signal fires burn. Help us throw from our shoulders the yoke of the tyrant. But, good Lord, let no blood flow this night in the land of Uri. Even in this, our greatest hour, help us to remember that all men, even evil men, are our brothers. Keep our hearts pure, our arms strong. For the Virgin's sake. Amen."(74)
Now he knew why his mother had wished him to be here on this night of nights. He felt it all dimly, but he felt it nevertheless. He knew what the wise have always known, that men lives by faith, and that faith can be stronger than fear.(76)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Rosanne E. Lortz 9:30 AM  

Looks like a great book!

Katie Fitzgerald 2:10 PM  

This sounds really good. I have read a few Newbery books set in medieval times, but not this one yet. I don't think I know anything about William Tell besides the apple story!

If you haven't seen it yet, there is a link-up post on my blog for Old School reviews from this month. ( I hope you'll add yours!

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