Topic | Rosemary Sutcliff Books

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  HeidiS 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • Betty Dickerson

    Hi There! I’m trying to schedule my children to read books in the time period we are studying(Rome) and I keep seeing Rosemary Sutcliff books popping up. Has anybody read any of her books? Are they okay? I usually read an unfamiliar book out loud to the kids myself so that I can edit as I go, but I already have a book scheduled for this (Bronze Bow).

    We’re getting to the point where I can’t keep up with pre-reading or reading aloud every book. I’ve been holding my children back, almost, from reading and learning because I want to pre-read everything and don’t have time. I’m wondering if Sutcliff’s books are fine, without anything questionable, for 12 and 10yo to read on their own?

    What’s interesting is I don’t know anyone who has read them, and I thought they were quite popular!

    I appreciate any help!





    I’ve read a half-dozen or so of Rosemary Sutcliff’s books. They are mostly OK, with the following caveats:

    The two retellings of the Iliad and the Odyssey have of course the expected mythological content, and the pictures are intense

    The main body of her books (like The Shining Company, Lantern Bearers, Eagle of the Ninth etc.) are pretty much OK–well-written, very involving. There is quite a lot of violence and they are intense. If you have a very sensitive child it might be a difficulty. Slavery, injuries, battle scenes, being a galley slave–that sort of thing. My kids cut their teeth on Tolkien and have had no problems, my 12 and 14yo’s have read them, but I haven’t given one to a 10yo or younger yet. They really are good writing–they make me feel like I know what Roman Britain must have been like.

    I would NOT give her retelling of the Arthur myth to a child. It is called, let me see, Sword at Sunset. Keep that one back. The rest are OK for at least 12ish up unless you have very sensitive children.

    Michelle D

    Betty Dickerson

    This was very helpful, Michelle. We have read some books that are a bit graphic, like Bruchko, and the kids have dealt with it well. But maybe just the 12yo will read these books. Thanks so much!

    If anybody else has any experience with these books, let me know!



    Karen Smith

    We have used Sutcliff’s books and really like them. They are very detailed and well-written. We have read the ones set during the Roman Empire, which really helped us to imagine what it was like to live during those times. Like Michelle, I would recommend them for 12 years old and up, but age will depend on your kids and your family.


    Commenting here so this can be bumped up for discussion. I see that LBC actually suggests The Lantern Bearers for 4th grade? Is that appropriate, those of you who have read it? I am trying to pick the best from the rest as I have a ton of reading choices for my dd age (12)..what do you all think? And do you mind telling my your fave middle ages reads?

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