Publisher's Note:  

The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series to a new generation of young readers. Jackets have been handsomely redesigned while retaining the original art of Caldecott Medal-winning artist Evaline Ness. Each retypeset volume now includes a pronunciation guide prepared by Lloyd Alexander. A companion book of short stories, The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain, is also available in hardcover for the first time in twenty years.

In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.

The Book of Three

by Lloyd Alexander

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Overall Review:  

The Book of Three is the first book in one of my favorite children's fantasy series--The Chronicles of Prydain.  It is the tale of an adventure embarked on, unintentionally, by a young Assistant Pig Keeper named Taran, and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages.


The audio version of this book is marvelous and appeals to a family audience.  On one family road trip of ours it, along with the other books in the series, entertained children as young as five years old and had my teenager on the edge of his seat.  It is read by James Langton who imbues each character with their own voice and personality.  I would go so far as to say that you haven't really enjoyed the book on the level it can be enjoyed unless you have listened to it performed by Langton. 


One of the elements that make this story so appealing is its characters, especially the supporting characters.  Although Taran is well written, it is his companions that really capture the reader's imagination.  Lloyd Alexander has managed to create one of my favorite fictional characters of all-time in Eilonwy, a young enchantress-in-training who never opens her mouth without showing off her quick mind and spunky attitude.


The Chronicles of Prydain is a series of five books, all of which I highly recommend.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None


Violence/Gore:  Three incidences in which a character suffers a non-fatal wound; one character verbally threatens another with violence; a youth witnesses a man killed by another man, non-graphic; a character is knocked unconscious by another character; a frightening scene takes place in which the "ghosts" turn out to be only the wind; one incidence of fantasy violence wherein a character is killed with a word; one extended scene--four pages long--of a sword fight between multiple warriors, some of which are undead warriors.


Sex/Nudity:  None

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Reviewed By Ambra
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