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Education Extra Book Picks.

Byline: The Register-Guard


"The Book of Three"

By Lloyd Alexander

Henry Holt, rev. edition, 1999

Recommended age group: 9 and up

Long before Harry Potter sprang to life, there was another unlikely young hero living a quiet, boring life somewhere in the land of Prydain and dreaming of adventure.

Taran, a young boy of unknown origins, is being raised by a 379-year-old wizard named Dallben and a quiet, gray-haired warrior disguised as a farmer.

On a morning that starts like all other mornings in the hamlet of Caer Dallben, Taran begs to learn sword fighting instead of blacksmithing and dreams of meeting his hero, Prince Gwydion. When Hen Wen, the magical, oracular pig who is under his care, escapes from the farm, Taran sets off on the adventure of his life. Before his day is over, Taran has not only been rescued and befriended by Prince Gwydion, he has assembled a group of bold companions to help with his quest. Searching for Hen Wen will not be easy, for Prydain is a land of many small kingdoms and many kings, who are now being threatened by The Horned King. Taran is aided by his new companions Fflewddur Fflam, the bumbling bard; Doli, a curmudgeonly dwarf; Melyngar, a wise white horse who belongs to the Prince; and Eilonwy.

Sharp-witted, bold and even sassier than Hermione of Gryfinndor, Eilonwy becomes Taran's best friend and object of affection through the next four books in the Chronicles of Prydain. Will Taran, the Assistant-Pigkeeper, complete his quest and prove himself worthy of a princess? Will he find his lost parents? Will the power of good conquer the evil of The Horned King? Loosely based on the Welsh Mabinogin, the other titles are "The Black Cauldron," "The Castle of Llyr," "Taran Wanderer," and "The High King," which was the first fantasy book to win the Newbery Award since 1969. The series is available at libraries everywhere.

- Debra Bogart, youth services librarian,

Springfield Public Library
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Title Annotation:Schools
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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