Monday, January 22, 2018

Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle....

Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle is a charming book, originally published in 1888, about a motherless boy who grew up in the safety of a monastery for the first twelve years of his life. It's set in Medieval Germany at a time of robber barons. Eventually, the boy's father comes back for him and takes him home in the hope of training him in warring. However, Otto has been taught up to that point in the way of the Lord, where kindness and mercy abound. Upon leaving the monastery, the reader quickly finds young Otto out of his element. There is definite evil, brute force, and cruelty in his father's world. However, good prevails as Otto manages to overcome.

Pyle's story is engaging, albeit simply written. Otto of the Silver Hand would be suitable for younger elementary students as a read aloud or older students as an independent read. Pyle's illustrations are fabulous and really compliment the story. We were slightly disappointed with Pyle's lack of character development, but the illustrations do help the story come alive. The book is pretty fast paced as there is a lot of action so it felt like you never really got to know the characters like in a book such as Black Fox of Lorne by de Angeli, which we finished reading before Otto. We liked the characters in Pyle's tale, but were left wanting to know more about them.

Overall, we enjoyed Otto of the Silver Hand. It was our first book written by Pyle. I look forward to reading his other books in the future.

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