Robin Hood is one of those “historical” characters who have managed to fascinate us to the point where multiple movies and television shows have been quite successful over the years. Everyone loves a good tale about Robin Hood. Since he really isn’t an historical figure in the sense that Merlin and Author aren’t really real, I began to wonder where all the tales came from. After all, Kevin Costner’s and Disney’s versions are quite different, so which is closest to the original? I’m not actually sure I have an answer to either after having read this book, but at least I know on what the characters and stories are based.
According to Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Merry_Adventures_of_Robin_Hood), Pyle took the narrated stories and put them into a coherent tale (published 1883) which later became the basis for most of the Robin Hood material which has since reached the market. Indeed, as you read along, all of the usual characters make their appearance although not necessarily as you would expect them to.
The book is made up of many different short stories which tell how Robin became Robin Hood, why he is an outlaw, who the other characters are and why they joined him, plus recounts how Robin caused much gnashing of teeth and raising of bounties. If I had read this as a child, I probably would have been thoroughly enchanted with it, especially as I was quite the tom-boy. I can’t imagine any little boy who wouldn’t want to read it. It’s the typical swashbuckling good guy wins over bad guy story which I could imagine inspiring us to many a play adventure as kids – right up there with Peter Pan and his lost boys. Having read it as an adult, I was less enchanted with it, but it was good to read it anyway. Finally I know where it all came from and can see the connections between many of the stories. It was interesting from that standpoint in any case.
Can I recommend it? I can’t really answer that outright. If you’re a child, or interested in origins, or are young at heart and like children’s stories, yes. If you don’t care for swashbucklers in any way shape or form, then spare yourself.