Parent reviews for The Sword in the Stone

Common Sense says

Brilliant, high-level take on Arthur's childhood.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews
Adult Written byKH1979 March 6, 2019

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 contains:

Educational Value
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byprcardi March 1, 2017

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.
Adult Written byLawrence F. November 27, 2016

A favorite childhood book

The Sword in the Stone is the first book of T.H. White's "The Once and Future King." Book 1 tells of Arthur's childhood and his ascension to the throne. It is a great tale that includes magic and adventure as well as day-to-day life. It stimulates one's imagination with unusual events such as Merlin turning Arthur into a hawk as an educational experience. The book includes a lot of humor, deriving largely from Merlin, who lives backwards in time and thus can foresee the future but also has difficulty remembering whether something has happened or not yet. I probably read these at age 13 or 14. The succeeding books tell of Arthur's reign, the tragedy of the love affair between Arthur's closest friend Lancelot and Arthur's wife Guinevere, the scheming Mordred, the quest for the holy Grail, and various tragic characters. I found it very moving then and now, in recalling it. The fifth book, the Book of Merlin, was actually suppressed or banned in wartime England. When I read these books, the Once and Future King came in a single volume comprising the first four books, and the Book of Merlin was separate, but that may have changed in the interim. I highly recommend this book as thought-provoking and entertaining. (As a point of reference, I also enjoyed all of the Sherlock Holmes books and the P.G. Wodehouse books (mostly those that featured Jeeves).)
There are no gratuitous acts of violence or sex in this book. Whatever happens serves to advance the tale. No swearing, no consumerism. Sex may be alluded to but not in any vulgar or explicit way. I believe this was merely part of an enchantment.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byLisette's Mom January 13, 2013

I Loved This Book As A Teen!

I read this work by T.H. White in English class in 10th grade, 30 years ago (edition did not have the illustrations referred to above). It triggered in me a love of any work of literature relating to the Arthurian legend that continues this day. I am not sure what the youngest age appropriate for this book would be, since I read it when I was 15. However, my 12-year-old is a very advanced reader and loves fantasy, myths and legends, so I am going to buy a copy and review it to see if I think she is ready. The element that gives me pause is Arthur's (and other characters') incestuous conceptions. My willingness to give her a copy depends on how sensitively these episodes are treated.
Parent Written byRachel E. July 29, 2012

Thick reading, Worth it for a good listener

My son just turned 8 and enjoyed this book, even though I had to explain a lot of things in it to him. Also, it is a more challenging read out loud than to one's self, and most adults would probably have some trouble with it. However, it was worth our time and it has captured this mom's heart. You may want to check into the books by Margaret Hodges such as Merlin and the Making of a King, which is an adaptation of the Arthurian Legend but may be more accessible for the younger children.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Violence & scariness