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The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
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The Book of Three (original 1964; edition 1976)

by Lloyd Alexander

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,895110941 (4.02)1 / 218
Member:EmScape
Title:The Book of Three
Authors:Lloyd Alexander
Info:Dell Yearling (1976) Edition: Sixth, paperback, 224 pages
Collections:All the Ebooks, Your library, Childhood Books
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, juvenile, fantasy, medium paperback, read, read in 2012, have ebook, Calibre import, @Garrett

Work details

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)

Recently added byprivate library, RachelRY, Richard54, Parkland8H, pieandsunshine, jakeshore, iles, Elaine2016
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Well-written, clever and amusing, a novel written in 1964 that has a modern tone and outlook built on a solid core of traditional fantasy. A delightful read. ( )
  rakerman | Jul 2, 2016 |
A superior fantasy for children, which is equally enjoyable for adults. A fairly gripping plot laced with plenty of humor, and engaging characters keep the reader entertained but not over-taxed. The story is a mix of Welsh mythology and Alexander's imagination. Highly recommended, especially for the tween set. ( )
  bohemima | Apr 19, 2016 |
This is the first book of a historical fantasy series. The Chronicles of Prydian, follows the adventures of Taran, an assistant pig keeper and aspiring adventurer. We travel with him as he discovers what true heroism is and what he really wants in life. This was such an amazing book, I had almost forgotten how captivating Alexander's writing is. From the first page I was drawn towards Taran and his fight to grow up, and later on, his fight to return to that safe place of childhood. Media: Acrylic and Ink.
  wcarlisle15 | Apr 15, 2016 |
I recently read The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander. Compared to the fantasy fiction which has come in the fifty years since the publication of this book, this book pales in comparison in many ways. Several key plot points are told, rather than shown. More importantly, while the main character isn't the real hero of the story, neither does the hero of the story tell us their own tale. Instead, we have a climax where the main character gets knocked out. It is only later that we learn how the villain was defeated. Even that seems too easy by today's fantasy standards.

I don't recommend this book to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien or other formula fantasy authors. I had thought surely such a non-formula fantasy book was written before the formula of the Lord of the Rings. But sadly, I discovered there was an intervening decade. I really doubt this book could have been published today. ( )
  Simon.Driscoll | Apr 11, 2016 |
The Book of Three introduces us to the young Taran, who is itching to be a hero. Through a series of setbacks and errors, he gathers a little band of misfits- Eilonwy, Gurgi and Fflewddur Fflam. It sets the stage for the rest of the series while remaining a good standalone book.

I first read this book way back in sixth grade as an assignment. At the time, I had never read fantasy, and really had no urge to do so. But I gave the book a chance because I loved my teacher. I'm so glad I did- this series has remained one of my favorites. I love how Taran grows throughout this book. His character starts out as a little whiny teenager (of which I have a lot of experience as a mom!) but ends up recognizing that there are more important issues in the world than what he wants for himself. I also love the character of Eilonwy. She is feisty and doesn’t let others (namely Taran) force her to do things she doesn’t want to do. ( )
  aharey | Apr 1, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hale, ShannonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maitz, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ness, EvalineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilhjerta, Ritva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the children who listened, the grown-ups who were patient, and especially for Ann Durell.
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This chronicle of the Land of Prydain is not a retelling or retranslation of Welsh mythology. Prydain is not Wales—not entirely, at least. The inspiration for it comes from that magnificent land and its legends; but, essentially, Prydain is a country existing only in the imagination.

[From Lloyd Alexander's "Author's Note" to The Book of Three (1964)]
Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes. And so it had been horseshoes all morning long. Taran's arms ached, soot blackened his face. At last he dropped the hammer and turned to Coll, who was watching him critically.

[From "The Assistant Pig-Keeper", chapter 1 of Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three (1964)]
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Book description
Blending rich elements of Welsh legend and universal mythology, Lloyd Alexander creates the imaginary kingdom of Prydain to tell a tale of enchantment, both good and evil, and of the Assistant Pig-Keeper who wants to become a hero.

In an enthralling chronicle, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper to a famour oracular sow, sets out on a hazardous mission to save Prydain from the forces of evil. He meets adventures in which humor and valor are blended in a way that will keep readers of all ages completely absorbed — for this is fantasy that is rooted in reality and truth.

Mr. Alexander says in his introductory note: "Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart."

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805080481, Paperback)

The tale of Taran, assistant pig keeper, has been entertaining young readers for generations. Set in the mythical land of Prydain (which bears a more than passing resemblance to Wales), Lloyd Alexander's book draws together the elements of the hero's journey from unformed boy to courageous young man. Taran grumbles with frustration at home in the hamlet Caer Dallben; he yearns to go into battle like his hero, Prince Gwydion. Before the story is over, he has met his hero and fought the evil leader who threatens the peace of Prydain: the Horned King.

What brings the tale of Taran to life is Alexander's skillful use of humor, and the way he personalizes the mythology he has so clearly studied. Taran isn't a stick figure; in fact, the author makes a point of mocking him just at the moments when he's acting the most highhanded and heroic. When he and the young girl Eilonwy flee the castle of the wicked queen Achren, Taran emotes, "'Spiral Castle has brought me only grief; I have no wish to see it again.' 'What has it brought the rest of us?' Eilonway asked. 'You make it sound as though we were just sitting around having a splendid time while you moan and take on.'" By the end, Alexander has spun a rousing hero's tale and created a compelling coming-of-age story. Readers will sigh with relief when they realize The Book of Three is only the first of the chronicles of Prydain. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:33 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper to a famous oracular sow, sets out on a hazardous mission to save Prydain from the forces of evil.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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