The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
Written by Adam Gidwitz, Illustrated by Hatem Aly

Publisher’s Summary:
1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning villa, and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Primary Source Pairing:
Visual literacy and image analysis abound in this tale! Begin by reading the “About the Illuminations” note at the beginning of the book where a description of Hatem Aly’s artwork is included. Author Adam Gidwitz writes that some of the illustrations are connected to the plot of the story while others are unrelated, just as one would see in medieval texts. TheInquisitorsTale_ReadersBookmark will encourage and guide readers to take a close look and a slow view of the illustrations included in the text and a create a moment to consider their connection to the text.

Next, invite students to study the Bayeux Tapestry, likely created in the 1070’s, showing the events of 1064-1066 leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Author Adam Gidwitz describes the Bayeux Tapestry as a “230-foot graphic novel that tells the story of the Norman Conquest” (Author’s Note). While called a tapestry, it’s actually embroidered on linen. Learn more about this incredible work of art on the Bayeux Museum’s website. Told in 50 scenes, the Bayeux Tapestry has much to see and interpret.

For this primary source pairing, analyze the Bayeux Tapestry scene titled “The messengers with Guy, with portrayal of medieval agriculture in the border.” Print the image on a large piece of paper or link digitally for students to have the ability to zoom in. To see the other scenes and to view the entire Bayeux Tapestry, click on the links in the Additional Resources section below.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • What tools were used to create this?
  • What details can you see about how it was created?
  • What can you learn from examining this?
  • If someone created something like this today, what would be different?
  • What would be the same?

Credits:
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“The messengers with Guy, with portrayal of medieval agriculture in the border”: Wikipedia

Additional Resources:
Full Bayeux Tapestry: Wikipedia (zoom in, scroll left to right to view)
Bayeux Museum’s website: www.bayeuxmuseum.com
Bayeux Tapestry Wikipedia page