Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Paperback

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Paperback

Illustrated by Marcia Williams

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Travel back to Medieval England and join Chaucer and his band of Canterbury pilgrims in this wonderful introduction to one of Britain's greatest literary legacies.

These nine well-loved tales, from a host of colourful characters - the Knight, the Miller, the Reeve, the Wife of Bath, the Summoner, the Clerk, the Franklin, the Pardoner and the Nun's Priest - are brought to life with Marcia Williams' trademark witty, comic-strip art, allowing this classic text to be enjoyed by all ages.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 48 pages, chiefly col. Illustrations
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic
  • ISBN: 9781406305623



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Review by

Chaucer's Canterbury TalesMarcia WilliamsThis excellently illustrated graphic novel based on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, a set of classic poetry folk tales written in Middle English. Williams takes nine of Chaucer's tales, keeps the Middle English language, but accentuate it with great graphics, although sometimes too graphic for younger students. The 'retellings' include The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Reeve's Tale, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Franklin's Tale, The Clerk's Tale, The Summoner's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale, and The Nun's Priest's Tale. Williams does an excellent job of following the tone and themes that Chaucer presents in his original text. I love Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales; it may be one of my favorite things to study. I loved this rendition of the Tales, and I think it conveys the same audacity that Chaucer introduced in his work. Each character's tale has its own theme, main idea, and 'moral to the story'. I think that because of the care that Williams had to have taken to present illustrations that melt so perfectly with the story, each supplementary photo greatly improves the comprehension of the reader, especially of those who's reading levels are not on a target level or those students who are visual learners. Some reviews that I have read imply that Williams should have censored Chaucer's Tales before putting them into a kid friendly format, but I think that any retelling should still bring the feeling of the original work into the newer piece. By taking the Tales out of Middle English and using more suitable language and images, some of the fun that is in Chaucer's Tales would have been lost. I have never seen an abridgment of the Tales quite like this one, but I feel like it is far superior to retellings of other classics that I have read. The reason The Tales is still being taught and read widely today is because of its universal elements, the cuckolded husband, the embarrassing cook, the drunk in the corner that no one listens to. When reading the Tales, especially the Prologue, with each description of a character, I place someone in my head, whether it is an acquaintance or a stereotypical figure from my imagination. I think that many students will be able to accomplish this formation of relationship because of the vivid imagery in Williams' graphic novel.The teaching ideas for this are endless! Whether a teacher is covering poetry, illustrating, The Canterbury Tales, or Chaucer, this graphic novel provides examples and information for all of these. Because Middle English is so hard for some students to comprehend, this book is a great addition to any teacher covering and text to be read in Middle English. I think it would be good to assign a reading for homework, read the first part of a character's tale on the same day the tale is assigned to get students ready for what they will be reading about. Some of the stories culminate at the end, and by 'tempting' students with the beginning, maybe curiosity could overcome the difficulty students encounter when reading from a different era. I think that this story would be a great asset to any classroom or library. (In fact, I looked it up to purchase for myself. The only downfall to this book would be its' cost. Although a tiny 46 pages, the book runs $500 on Whew.) Williams presentation of the well known Canterbury Tales gives this nearly worn-out story some life. If you're a fan of Chaucer, you must read this book!

Review by

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a graphic children novel retold and written by: Marcia Williams. It was published in 2008 by: Walker Childrens Paperbacks. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a collection of fictional stories told by a group of pilgrims,who are on a pilgrimage to visit Saint Thomas a' Becket's tomb at Canterbury. Geoffrey Chaucer recorded these stories as they were told on the pilgrimage. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a collection of fictional stories told by pilgrims traveling to visit Saint Thomas a' Becket's tomb at Canterbury. While traveling to Canterbury, some of the pilgrims take turns telling stories to help the 120 mile journey pass by quickly and to entertain fellow pilgrims. Chaucer writes down the tales to pass on to the rest of the town. Chaucer records nine stories: The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Reeve's Tale, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Franklin's Tale, The Clerk's Tale, The Nun's Priest's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale, and the Summoner's Tale. Each tale presents a lesson on morality and love. They stories are all a great way to teach moral lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed Marcia Williams' version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It is a cute, fun, and entertaining way to read The Canterbury Tales because it uses quirky comments from the audience and colorful, informative illustration to help the reader's understand the story in a visual way. The tales raises issues such as adultery, greed, what length someone will go to for love, and even death. I agree with the way Marcia Williams addresses these issues. She uses a fun, quirky atmosphere to teach the reader the morals of the stories. This is a great way to teach children the affects of these issues without necessarily frightening them. Compared to Geoffrey Chaucer's original Canterbury Tales, Marcia Williams' version is much easier to comprehend and is more entertaining. I would much rather present this book to my student's than the original, more complicated version. I loved how Chaucer's Canterbury Tales addressed large world issues such as adultery, greed, and lying. Each of these issues connect to the world in ways that the reader can understand. As a teacher, I would love to have the student's act these stories out. I can divide the students into groups and have each group act out a different story. This will be a fun way for them work cooperatively and learn about Middle English. Another way I can teach this book would be to use it with the original Canterbury Tales and have the students study and compare the two versions with partners or in groups. Marcia Williams' version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a fun and exciting way to learn about the famous pilgrimage to Canterbury to visit Saint Thomas a' Becket's tomb. It is a fun way to learn about Middle English history and the ways of which our English language has changed since 1400. This graphic children's book addresses many issues such as: adultery, greed, thieving, and lying in a easily understood way for readers. The main point of this book is to teach readers a famous part of English history, and have them observe the recorded stories of Geoffrey Chaucer.