100 Best Books for Children ~ Scott

Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe is number 12 on The Hundred Best Books for Children list found in The Book-lover.

Sir Walter Scott came from a large family in Scotland. When he was young he contracted what was thought to be meningitis or polio. His recovery came at last but left him with little use of his right leg. His father was a lawyer in Edinburgh. It was his mother that encouraged his delight in poetry and imaginative tales. Though by occupation he became a lawyer, his spare time was spent writing poetry. Many will be familiar with “The Lady of the Lake.”

Scott was a storyteller, one who excelled in the skill of “show, don’t tell.” And he loved to dramatize stories he knew well. In the early 1800s he published the Waverly series of books which include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and others.

However Ivanhoe is probably Sir Walter Scott’s most famous work. Ivanhoe is set in England. It is thought to be the vehicle by which the Middle Ages were idolized through the characters of King Richard the Lion-hearted, Prince John, and Robin Hood. It is a story of chivalry and what past reviewers would have termed “romance” with enough action to keep the reader enthralled.

The background of the story Ivanhoe is played against the result of the Norman conquest:

It was a time when the nation was torn by internal strife and fearful of attack from beyond its borders. King Richard, a gallant leader of the Third Crusade in the Holy Land, was a prisoner in the hands of the Duke of Austria. At home, the King’s brother, Prince John, was conspiring to seize the throne. Although more than a hundred years had passed since the Norman conquest of England, bad feelings between the vanquished Saxons and the Norman rulers still flamed fiercely. The conquerors had set themselves up in their fortified castles as petty kings and in many cases had reduced the people around to a state of feudal slavery. Some driven to desperation by the tyranny of their foreign masters, had fled to the forests, where they banded together in a lawless society.

The Jewish people were the most wretched, for they were at the mercy of both Saxon and Norman. Christians at this time were forbidden to loan money at interest; so extravagant nobles borrowed from the Jews, sometimes by force, and then hated them because they were in debt to them. Jews suffered every kind of mistreatment, even physical torture. As a result there was contempt, suspicion and violence on both sides

Ivanhoe is a story appropriate for the older years. However there is a child’s retelling below.

Penguin Classics paperback version for those interested.

Free eBook

Ivanhoe with an Outline for its Study
Inline notes help younger readers.

Ivanhoe Told to the Children
by Ethel Lindsay

Additional Resources
Cedric the Forester {Free eBook} or Knights & Castles Unit Study

Cedric the Forester {Free eBook} or Knights & Castles Unit Study
Perfect for younger children you wish to include!

Author Notebooking Pages {Free Download}
Use this free set to create an author notebook for our 100 Best Books for Children series.

The Hundred Best Books for Children ~ Introduction
The Hundred Best Books for Children

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