This middle grade take on the Robin Hood story follows Will Scarlet.
Recommended grade level: 4-7
Pages: 272 (for ISBN 9780375868955)
Pace: leisurely to moderate
Summary: Will Scarlet is on the run. Once the sheltered son of nobility, Will has become an exile. While his father, Lord Shackley, has been on the Crusades with King Richard, a treacherous plot to unseat Richard has swept across England, and Shackley House has fallen.
Will flees the only home he’s ever known into neighboring Sherwood Forest, where he joins the elusive gang of bandits known as the Merry Men. Among them are Gilbert, their cruel leader; a giant named John Little; a drunkard named Rob; and Much, an orphan girl disguised as a bandit boy.
This is the story of how a band of misfit outlaws become heroes of legend – thanks to one brave 13-year-old boy. (Source)
Who will like this book?: This book blends action with personal drama and a little bit of politics in a way that isn’t too heavy or difficult to digest. It’s a good choice for younger readers looking for some fodder for thought along with their adventure.
Who won’t like this book?: This book has a lot of character development and a slow buildup, so it might not appeal to reluctant readers or those seeking lots of action.
Readalikes: Those interested in Robin Hood may also like Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian by Kathryn Lasky and The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley. Readers seeking medieval-style adventure may also enjoy The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan and the Redwall by Brian Jacques. (Note that Redwall is animal fantasy.)