The White Stag (Newbery Library, Puffin)

by Kate Seredy

Paperback, 1979



Call number

PB Ser

Call number

PB Ser

Local notes

PB Ser




Puffin Books (1979), 96 pages


Retells the legendary story of the Huns' and Magyars' long migration from Asia to Europe where they hope to find a permanent home.


Newbery Medal (Medal Winner — 1938)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

96 p.; 7.74 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member 1morechapter
This Newbery winner tells the legend of how the Huns and Magyars migrated westward into Hungary. Descended from Nimrod (yes, the one from the Bible), Attila and his ancestors follow a white stag that shows them the way. If you like myths and legends as I do, you will appreciate this book.

My only
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caution is that Christian parents should read this first to see if it appropriate for their family. Although I love folklore, legends, and mythology, I was a little uncomfortable with the setting up of Nimrod as a hero. Usually I treat mythology solely as fiction with entertainment value. In this case, however, because this book does use passages and references in the Bible, I am a little more cautious.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I liked this more than I thought I would. Not fairy tale, and not really for smaller children - think of it as a very concise saga or epic, a summary of a Wagnerian-style opera, or a new myth that isn't Greek or Norse.
LibraryThing member Black_samvara
Mythic fantasy with delightful illustrations.
LibraryThing member debnance
The White Stag is the story of a culture of which I know little, that of the tribes of the Huns and the Magyars. The two tribes were once one, but split to follow two brothers, one adventurous, the other less intent on fighting. Both tribes roamed westward, in search of the white stag, and were
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eventually reunited under the leadership of Attila. This story had a surprising rhythm, a cadence almost like a fairy tale, filled with battles and power struggles and wanderings.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
In terms of re-telling a famous historical legend or myth of Attila the Hun, this is an entertaining and adventurous volume. Ms. Seredy uses a style similar to that of epic poems. Of note are the illustrations for which Ms. Seredy is also responsible. This is a quick read and a great introduction
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of an unfamiliar literary style for most children and youth.
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LibraryThing member mirrani
You are awarded the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." This book, with it's epic type storytelling certainly deserves that. It takes a famous legend and revives it with images that come clearly to mind, even before your eye falls on the
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stunning artwork. This story is easy to read and easy to share by reading to someone else. Be prepared to transport yourself into the past and become a part of what myths were made of.
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LibraryThing member klburnside
This book is the mythical tale of the Huns and their journey across Asia into Europe. It ends with the life of Attila the Hun. It is the winner of the 1938 Newbery.

The writing was engaging, and the story well told, but alas, it was not really that interesting to me and it is hard to cheer on
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someone like Attila the Hun.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
I enjoyed another book by this author, but after reading one chapter of this work, I was so upset by what happened that I decided I did not want to finish it.
LibraryThing member juniperSun
Seredy's writing, as expected, is excellent. Presented as a legend of the Hungarian people, it is quite possibly an oral history. We've all heard about Atilla the Hun coming from the Russian steppes. The story begins 3 generations previous, with Nimrod and his sons Hunor and Magyar, during a time
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of famine. They follow the leading of their god to find a land where they will prosper. In this generation it is a white stag who shows the way. There is much fighting as local tribes try to defend their homes from the massive migration. Over the decades of fighting, some of the leaders begin to doubt the leading of their god. Magyar & his followers remain where they are in a pleasant valley between the Don & Volga rivers (p.46). Hunor & his people, led by his grandson Atilla, follow the path of a flaming sword with much brutal warfare and eventual disastrous consequences. Hunor's tribe eventually is led again by a white stag to a new home, with an accepting small local tribe, west of the Carpathian mountains between the rivers Pathissus and Danubius.
Some small pieces of factual information are integrated: the comet in 408, the response of Flavius Honorius (Roman Emperor) and Pope Innocentius, the fighting with Sarmatians, Dacians, Goths, Franks, and Romans. These are peoples I have vaguely heard of but have no idea of their role in history. This legend is good motivation to learn more about this time in our world history. What did become of the Magyars? Damon's prophecy (p.59) says "for seven generations will they roam the earth, outcasts among men."
I am reminded of the Menominee tradition of being led west by a shell to a land where food grows on water which will be their home.
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LibraryThing member Farree
I read this shortly after finishing "The Historian," by Elizabeth Kostova, a novel about Dracula (in this library). I wondered if Seredy would mention Dracula, Dragons, Vampires, etc., since the Carpathians and Transylvania are right in the middle of that whole myth (is it a myth?). Anyway, no
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mention is made except for where on page 86, line 7, she refers to the Hunnic horde as a "dragon," as it emerges from the 'Pasul Oituz,' into Transylvania. I suppose, given the geography, she could not possibly avoid referring to the dragon somewhere. This is quite an interesting setting of the Myth of the origin of Hungary (or 'Magyar Orszag'), its founding. I imagine this myth is based on Hungarian folklore, but it does seem somewhat biased toward Christianity. Seredy ends her tale before the Huns (Atilla) conquered Rome and before the invasion of the Magyars into Eastern Europe. The tale is definitely evocative of mythical themes (in the same way as Wagner's operas); the text itself seems to be written with middle-school students as an audience. I will give it:
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LibraryThing member et.carole
This book is incredibly deserving of its 1938 Newbery Medal. It's brilliant. Though it appears to be a children's book, the style is a mature blend of the epic style of Virgil, the wide story arc of the Old Testament, and the legends of the Huns. The prose reads like poetry, with descriptions that
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modern authors can only dream of. And the illustrations are simply amazing. This is a story to aspire to, but also a story to treasure. It yearns to be read aloud.
That's all I can say, and my words are woefully inadequate. The White Stag leaves me with a sense of awe.
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LibraryThing member kslade
Great mythic story about the Magyars and Attilla the Hun.
LibraryThing member fingerpost
Newbery winner or not, that was boring as hell.
It read like those tedious warmongering chapters in the Old Testament, with a dash of ancient mythology thrown into the mix. Hard to imagine a child of any age ever enjoying this, but I guess kids were different in1937.
To be fair though, I've never
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had any taste for mythology. I prefer books about characters I can identify with and care about. Nimrod, Bendeguz and Attila were definitely not characters I related to, had interest in, or muster compassion for.
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