Like some of the best fairy tales, the legend of Robin Hood has inspired creative minds for centuries. Ballads in the 14th century beget plays in the 15th century, leading to books in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since the dawn of film, there have been nearly fifty film adaptations and over a dozen television series, all inspired by one outlaw who may or may not have been a real person. The latest adaptation takes the character back to the literary world in Hood by Jenny Elder Moke from Disney’s Hyperion book label.
Rather than retelling the all too familiar tale, Hood is more or less a sequel, jumping forward in time after the events of Robin Hood’s defeat of Prince John and the consequences of that act. Still an outlaw, he and Marian have been separated for nearly twenty years with his beloved bride in hiding at a convent in Kirklees, raising their daughter Isabelle in safety and seclusion. They’re doing everything they can for the survival of their only daughter as the story of Hood starts.
There have been other stories about Robin Hood’s offspring, including the 2001 The Wonderful World of Disney made for TV movie Princess of Thieves starring Kiera Knightley. But unlike Kinghtley’s character Gwyn in that film, Isabelle doesn’t know about her father. It’s something that she’s about to find out as the book begins in just about as exciting a way possible.
Isabelle’s identity has been discovered by “The Wolf,” a powerful scorned enemy of Robin Hood who is out to destroy the outlaw who robs from the rich to give to the poor. Imprisoned for reasons she doesn’t understand, her mother is able to hastily free her with just enough time to give her instructions to travel through the woods for three days to an inn to ask for a man named Thomas who can help her. But her travels don’t exactly go as planned.
Isabelle’s adventures lead her to a band of “Merry Men,” including a new generation of recruits. The story explores how much of our personality is nature vs. nurture as Isabelle meets her father and discovers how alike they truly are. But this is more than just a story about how our parents determine who we become, it’s a thrilling adventure that requires their reunion to be short lived if they are to save Marian from the hands of the Wolf.
Hood is a “Page turner” in every sense of the word. The characters are well rounded and realistic, including the ones readers may already be familiar with, but the true star of the story is Isabelle. Readers will love reading as she rises to the occasion to be the person one would expect the daughter of Robin Hood to become.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.