The Sword in the Stone

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Sword in the Stone Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 10+

Brilliant, high-level take on Arthur's childhood.

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 8 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Great but watch out for the n-word!

The writing is beautiful and the story is elegant and funny of course, but I was totally shocked to see the n-word in it! If you’re reading it aloud you can of course avoid it (the Audible version does not use the word) but I wouldn’t hand this to a 10 year old to read independently, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience with the word or context to understand what’s so ugly about the word. And make sure you as the adult can guide them in an intelligent discussion if you do have them read it.

This title has:

Educational value
Too much swearing
age 11+

Difficult for children, childish for adults

I am writing this review at some remove from the reading experience, thus it will lack the detail I typically try to include. This was a mostly wholesome tale that includes some history (medieval England), a lot of fantasy (magic and mythological creatures) some difficult-to-understand weirdness (the anachronisms with Merlin's moving backward through time) and a lot of tutorials (delivered in dry Middle English). There were just a few expletives and one bawdy song (which took me some time to explain to my 9 year old daughter). Generally, the "good" characters are clearly and genuinely good, the compromised characters have clear strengths and weaknesses, and the "bad" characters are clearly evil. There is little doubt as to whom one is supposed to (and can happily) cheer for, feel empathy for, or jeer against. It is also a suspenseful book where Arthur and others around him face the real prospect of death. There are hints of gruesome endings that, in themselves, might be a little shocking, but are no worse than the old Grimm's fairy tales. This is a good book to challenge an adolescent reader and while some of the scenes might be a little morbid, this is a book that a preteen could read by themselves without need of parental guidance or post-reading discussion.

Book Details

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