Saturday, August 16, 2008

Living History Children's Book Review: Where Valor Lies by Adele and Cateau De Leeuw

Where Valor Lies by Adele and Cateau De Leeuw, 1959 is living history at it's best! I picked this book up some time ago at a library sale. It was an older book club edition, but I've since learned that Lepanto Press has republished this book.

I've been reading this book aloud to ds at bedtime. I thought it might be a dry historical book beyond his interest level, therefore making it a good fall-asleep book(giggle). It wasn't, and isn't. This book is very well written and peaks your interest in the first few paragraphs as we witness the dialogue of a young man who has a thankless and low paying job as an apprentice carpenter to a cruel taskmaster. Work is hard to come by, and many are starving in 13th century Paris.

Elizabeth Yank reviews the book at the Love2Learn Blog:

"Where Valor Lies includes a colorful cast of characters including Aimar, a father like figure who watches over him, Pierre a dear and close friend, Friar Bernard, whose example of unfailing help to those in need inspires those around him, and the rascal Vincent, an enigma whose generosity ultimately triumphs over his greed.

Where Valor Lies opens with a whirlwind of activity and does not stop until the last page, keeping the reader’s attention riveted throughout. It is a story of personal growth as much as it is an adventure story of an impetuous young man on a quest for great fortune and glory during the Seventh Crusade[Saint Louis the IX]. What is a man’s true valor? In the end, Richard finds out it is not great victories in battles, but the moral victory over oneself."

See the complete review here.

It was a very good book, but I think the ending was a little emotionally flat. Especially considering how exciting it was throughout. Maybe I was depressed by their losses, and wanted to be lifted up with more coverage or discussion regarding their moral victory.

I plan to look for more books by Adele De Leeuw at our public library. What a wonderful way to make history come alive. I'm guessing that the reading level would be appropriate for at least fifth grade, but I enjoyed it as well.


Trina said...

My kids and I are in love with living history books (thanks largely to MODG curriculum), so I was excited to read your review of this one. It looks great. and it is always nice when the front cover is oh-so-provocative (esp when you are an imaginative 12 yr old boy)!

Alexandra said...

I would think this would be perfect for a 12 year old boy, but I enjoyed it as well!;). I love medieval living history, so this was right up my alley. I think ds is tending toward this period as his favorite as well.

Thanks for your comment. :)

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