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McCaughrean, Geraldine. The stones are hatching.

HarperTrophy: 244p. c1999. 0-06-447218-3 $5.95. J

Phelim and his companions, a motley crew of people and animals, journey to the Stoor Worm's lair to defeat it and its hatchlings who have been roused by the guns of the Great War. Young Phelim is a reluctant hero--Jack of the Green, his companions call him, but Phelim knows that Jack is his father and he is not up to the task set before him. The Stoor Worm, as big as a mountain range, is awakening and sending her hatchlings out to torment the local people with monsters they had long forgotten about and relegated to myth and superstition. Alexia, the maiden, helps Phelim by sacrificing her life in a small village that has remembered the old ways and is practicing old magic. Mad Sweeny, a fool, gives Phelim the knowledge of the countryside and creatures that he meets, to help him in his quest. Obby Orse, a black bag of fabric resembling a misshapen horse, provides transportation.

Along the way to the Stoor Worm the group gets into various difficulties that are sent to distract Phelim from his purpose. Phelim is successful in the end, of course, and learns lessons about himself and life along the way. He finally realizes that perhaps he wasn't too bad of a choice for the hero that was needed. A large vocabulary and patience for whiny heroes will be a boon while you read this fantasy. Stacey Conrad, Middle School Reading Teacher, Palmyra, MO
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Author:Conrad, Stacey
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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