Robin Hood and His Merry Men by Arthur Malcolm

Robin Hood and Little John walking through the forest, OODALALEE OODALALEE GOLLY WHAT A DAY!

robinhood_content_coverSorry, I had to get that out of my system. I recently stumbled across the 1950’s Arthur Malcolm version of Robin Hood and His Merry Men. It was hiding amongst the hideous beautiful messy pile of books that is now covering the office of our new home. After taking a gloriously long sniff between the pages (you can’t beat the old book smell, seriously) I decided to give it a go.

Sometimes I really like the simplicity of old stories. You kind of know what to expect from the plot and the characters are like familiar old friends. The prose that authors used in the 50’s was so much more straightforward and to the point. There are no long dramatic sentences or chapters ending in heart-pounding cliff-hangers. Just a nice story without a lot of fuss, easy and entertaining. A story you could read to a small child before bed time.

That’s what Robin Hood was to me.

The novel was really more of a series of short chapters, with each division being a different anecdote about Robin that meshed into the greater scheme of things. You know how it goes: outlaw, Maid Marion, (not so) Little John, Friar Tuck, the evil Sheriff, etc… This time we got a little more backstory on Robin Hood–like how he got his name and why he got started on the “criminal” path. Haha.

I think Robin Hood may have been the first fictional character (at least that I’m aware of) that demonstrated that just because something was the law didn’t make it right. And just because you broke that law didn’t make you a bad person. In the story it was illegal to shoot the king’s deer. So it was either watch your family starve or break the law.

What would you do?

3 farthings of 5

(By the way, I totally pictured the animal characters from Disney’s cartoon Robin Hood the entire time. I couldn’t help it. The book made multiple allusions to Robin being “wily as a fox”–so I’m guessing that explains his animal form…)



About Chelsea McDonald

As an avid reader since I was big enough to hold a book, I continue to enjoy losing myself in the thrall of a good story on a daily basis. Since many of my cohorts do not share the same passion, Cracking Spines will be the perfect outlet to express my adulation or frustration concerning the books that cross my path. In this way, my loyal followers will be able to enjoy the stories that are worthwhile and avoid the duds altogether. I also have a Shelfari account at View all posts by Chelsea McDonald

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