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Otto of the Silver Hand
By Howard Pyle
Read by Geoffrey Howard

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Otto of the Silver Hand
By Howard Pyle
Read by Geoffrey Howard
Blackstone Audiobooks, (2001)
An unabridged recording on 2 cassettes
ISBN: 0786121432
Genre: Children's Literature

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - May 14, 2002

A swashbuckling tale that will awaken the imagination of anyone, young or old, Otto of the Silver Hand is a good, old-fashioned, great adventure story. Originally published in 1888, it is but one of the numerous adventure / fairy tales that Howard Pyle wrote throughout his career.

In this all too brief story, Pyle introduces us to Otto, a young boy who was raised in a monastery. Set in Medieval Germany, this tale is partly a coming of age tale, and partly a simple tale of knights-in-armor, chivalry, and courtly virtue. Most important, this is a book with a moral lesson, that good begets good, and evil begets evil. The story follows Otto as he leaves the Monastery where is was raised, in order to secure his birth right. His journey, outside the safety of the Monastery's walls, is not an easy one and he is subjected to much evil. However, Otto stands on the side of goodness and righteousness, and his strength of character helps him prevail against the odds. In the end, he is well rewarded. Otto becomes the advisor to the Emperor Rudolph and 'gets' the beautiful maiden he has long loved, proving that good does indeed beget good. The title of the story comes from Otto's personal motto, "Better a silver hand than an iron hand."

This audio edition of Otto of the Silver Hand is marvelously read by Geoffrey Howard. However, not to deter from Howard's reading, if you can, besides listening to this book, as get a copy of the print edition. Pyle was, in addition to being an author, a wonderful artist. The illustrated, print edition of this book contains over 25 exquisitely drawn illustrations that make this an ideal 'reading-to-your-kids' book. However, while the illustrations are delightful, this narrative stands on its own merits, and is well worth the listen to - you'll just have to invent your own images to illustrate the story.


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