We just finished reading Beowulf the Warrior by Ian Serraillier for our Church History Year. The original poem Beowulf was written in Old English about the 8th century. The setting is Denmark and Geatland (Sweden) in the 6th century. It coincides nicely with our introduction of Christianity to the Anglo-Saxon people, who were pagan. Beowulf was the most valiant warrior king who ever lived. In his youth, he battled and defeated the wicked monster Grendel and his mother, and later he challenged a fire-breathing, terrorizing dragon.
Since Beowulf's rediscovery in the 1800s, it has been retold and published in great versions for children. Every kid should read or hear the story of Beowulf. This is not the first time I have read this Serraillier version to my kids, but they still love this heroic adventure story every time. The one thing I would suggest, if you do not know the story and want to read it aloud to your kids, is to first read it yourself to become familiar with the language and the plot.
After reading it this time, my kids put together posters of their favorite parts.
|Wiglaf aids Beowulf fighting the dragon, by my 10-year old|
|Beowulf takes off Grendel's arm, by my 8-year old|
|Beowulf the hero destroys Grendel's mother, by my 7-year old|
Following are other great versions for children, many of which are in modern English:
The Hero Beowulf - Eric Kimmel
Beowulf - Gareth Hinds
Beowulf - Michael Morpurgo
Favorite Medieval Tales - Mary Pope Osborne
Beowulf A Hero's Tale Retold - James Rumford
Beowulf - Welwyn Katz