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Lloyd Alexander (1924–2007)

Author of The Book of Three

84+ Works 49,236 Members 704 Reviews 150 Favorited

About the Author

Lloyd Alexander, January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007 Born Lloyd Chudley Alexander on January 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Allan Audley and Edna Chudley Alexander, Lloyd knew from a young age that he wanted to write. He was reading by the time he was 3, and though he did poorly in school, show more at the age of fifteen, he announced that he wanted to become a writer. At the age of 19 in 1942, Alexander dropped out of the West Chester State Teachers College in Pennsylvania after only one term. In 1943, he attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, before dropping out again and joining the United States Army during World War II. Alexander served in the Intelligence Department, stationed in Wales, and then went on to Counter-Intelligence in Paris, where he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. When the war ended in '45, Alexander applied to the Sorbonne, but returned to the States in '46, now married. Alexander worked as an unpublished writer for seven years, accepting positions such as cartoonist, advertising copywriter, layout artist, and associate editor for a small magazine. Directly after the war, he had translated works for such artists as Jean Paul Sartre. In 1955, "And Let the Credit Go" was published, Alexander's first book which led to 10 years of writing for an adult audience. He wrote his first children's book in 1963, entitled "Time Cat," which led to a long career of writing for children and young adults. Alexander is best known for his "Prydain Chronicles" which consist of "The Book of Three" in 1964, "The Black Cauldron" in 1965 which was a Newbery Honor Book, as well as an animated motion picture by Disney which appeared in 1985, "The Castle of Llyr" in 1966, "Taran Wanderer" in 1967, a School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year and "The High King" which won the Newberry Award. Many of his other books have also received awards, such as "The Fortune Tellers," which was a Boston Globe Horn Book Award winner. In 1986, Alexander won the Regina Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Catholic Library Association. His titles have been translated into many languages including, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbo-Croation and Swedish. He died on May 17, 2007. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three (1964) 7,871 copies
The High King (1968) 6,025 copies
The Castle of Llyr (1966) 5,237 copies
Taran Wanderer (1967) 4,987 copies
The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain (1973) — Foreword — 1,448 copies
Westmark (1981) 1,267 copies
The Iron Ring (1997) 912 copies
The Kestrel (1982) 892 copies
The Beggar Queen (1984) 849 copies
The Arkadians (1995) 774 copies
The Prydain Chronicles (1991) 690 copies
The Illyrian Adventure (1986) 687 copies
The Wizard in the Tree (1974) 577 copies
The Chronicles of Prydain (1964) — Author — 572 copies
The Fortune-Tellers (1992) 558 copies
The El Dorado Adventure (1987) 389 copies
The Jedera Adventure (1989) 385 copies
Gypsy Rizka (1999) 365 copies
The Rope Trick (2002) 342 copies
The Gawgon and the Boy (2001) 333 copies
The Drackenberg Adventure (1988) 326 copies
The Philadelphia Adventure (1990) 271 copies
The Xanadu Adventure (2005) 173 copies
The King's Fountain (1971) 113 copies
How the Cat Swallowed Thunder (2000) — Author — 108 copies
A Lloyd Alexander Collection (2001) 108 copies
The four donkeys (1972) 88 copies
The House Gobbaleen (1687) 77 copies
The Truthful Harp (1967) 73 copies
Coll and His White Pig (1965) 58 copies
My Five Tigers (1956) 40 copies
Border hawk: August Bondi (1958) 37 copies
The flagship Hope (1960) 34 copies
Fifty Years in the Doghouse (1963) 12 copies
My love affair with music (1960) 6 copies
Janine is French (1959) 6 copies
The Sword Dyrnwyn (1973) 5 copies
Le Cronache di Prydain (2022) 3 copies
The Stone [short story] (1973) 2 copies
Top and Toby (1993) 2 copies
And Let the Credit Go (1955) 2 copies
Max Mondrosch 2 copies
PEACE 1 copy

Associated Works

Nausea (1959) — Translator, some editions — 9,949 copies
The Wall: Stories (1938) — Translator, some editions — 2,697 copies
The Big Book for Peace (1990) — Contributor — 817 copies
Guys Write for Guys Read (2005) — Contributor — 769 copies
The Dark Frigate (1923) — Introduction, some editions — 743 copies
The Black Cauldron [1985 film] (1985) — Original book — 260 copies
The Fantastic Imagination (1977) — Contributor — 154 copies
A Newbery Halloween (1991) — Introduction — 152 copies
The Fantastic Imagination II (1978) — Contributor — 96 copies
Best Shorts: Favorite Stories for Sharing (2006) — Contributor — 90 copies
The Penguin Book of Classic Children's Characters (1997) — Contributor — 88 copies
The Year's Best Fantasy Stories (1980) — Contributor — 86 copies
The Kingfisher Treasury of Princess Stories (2001) — Contributor — 54 copies
Celebrate Cricket: 30 Years of Stories and Art (2003) — Contributor — 43 copies
Visions and Imaginations: Classic Fantasy Fiction (2005) — Contributor — 13 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1, September 1974 (1974) — Illustrator — 7 copies
Tales Beyond Time: From Fantasy to Science Fiction. (1973) — Contributor — 7 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 5, January 1974 (1974) — Illustrator — 6 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3, November 1974 (1974) — Contributor — 5 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 2, October 1973 (1973) — Contributor — 5 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 3, November 1976 (1976) — Contributor — 5 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 8, April 1974 (1974) — Contributor — 4 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 9, May 1975 (1975) — Contributor — 4 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 4, December 1976 (1976) — Contributor — 4 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 10, June 1975 (1975) — Contributor — 3 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 2, October 1976 (1976) — Contributor — 3 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 5, January 1977 (1977) — Contributor — 3 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, September 1977 (1977) — Illustrator — 3 copies
The Wall: (Intimacy) and Other Stories (1969) — Translator, some editions — 3 copies


(431) 20th century (260) adventure (1,238) anthology (356) cats (205) children (617) children's (1,594) children's fiction (401) children's literature (677) classics (244) existentialism (678) fantasy (8,829) fiction (5,411) French (367) French literature (461) historical fiction (246) juvenile (436) juvenile fiction (298) kids (218) literature (439) Lloyd Alexander (320) magic (529) Newbery Medal (227) novel (571) own (291) paperback (256) philosophy (680) Prydain (912) Prydain Chronicles (963) read (694) science fiction (201) series (727) sff (356) short stories (511) to-read (1,743) unread (275) Wales (327) Welsh mythology (207) YA (1,321) young adult (1,571)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Alexander, Lloyd Chudley
Date of death
Burial location
Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania (USA Plot: Monticello Mausoleum, B4-Back Wall)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Place of death
Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, USA
Cause of death
Upper Darby High School (graduated 1940)
University of Paris
Haverford College
Denni, Janine (wife)
Khalil, Madeleine (daughter)
November, Sharyn (goddaughter)
United States Army (WWII)
Awards and honors
Upper Darby High School Wall of Fame
Regina Medal (1986)
Short biography
[from The Wizard in the Tree]
Lloyd Alexander received the Newbery medal for The High King, the fifth and final book of his distinguished fantasy series about the kingdom of Prydain. His The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian, which won the 1971 National Book Award for Children's Books, was described in The Horn Book as "a comic fantasy, successfully combining eighteenth-century briskness with romantic 'moonshine'. It can be read as an exciting series of adventures, of which many of the chapters end with a suspense line. Or it can be read as an allegory on the ambivalent power of beauty. Or -- best of all -- it can be read as the story of Sebastian's apprenticeship to life".

Mr. Alexander's The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man was an ALA Notable Children's Book of 1973. Said School Library Journal, "Lionel, a wizard's cat, persuades his master to turn him into a man. . . . Infused with humor, high spirits, and compassion, Lionel's story is a parable of the human condition that recognizes mankind's many frailties without despariing and offers hope that love and justice may sometimes prevail".



***Group Read: The Chronicles of Prydain (Spoiler) in 75 Books Challenge for 2010 (May 2010)
***Group Read: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander in 75 Books Challenge for 2010 (May 2010)
Group Read: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander in 75 Books Challenge for 2009 (December 2009)


My husband's mother read this series to him as a boy, and they cried together when they finished the last book and didn't have any more to read together. I see why this is a class - I thought the characters were a lot of fun, and I love the concept of an oracular pig.
sloth852 | 166 other reviews | Apr 10, 2024 |
Taran was obnoxious and never truly learned from his mistakes. He said plenty of times that he was wrong and he would do better, and then next thing you know he's ignoring everyone else and insisting that they all do something stupid. This happened over and over again and it got tiresome.
LynnMPK | 166 other reviews | Mar 29, 2024 |
It’s a pop children’s (boy’s, really) fantasy adventure. Both the heroes and villains are ancient Celtic/Welsh pagans, which is a choice with some promise. It has its faults, of course. The whole “male heroes don’t have to be handsome; they just need to think deep thoughts and spear shit”—always delivered with the feeling that those awful women are forever imprisoning men inside their boudoirs, forcing them to comb their hair against their will, when the average husband cares about as much about his wife’s estimation of his beauty routine as a commie for the details of investment theory…. Also not terribly Celtic. (A lot of “Celtic fantasy” is terribly Victorian and patriarchal.) Physical imperfection legally debarred you from kingship among the Celts—if you lost a hand in battle, you hand to abdicate after the battle was over: and really I suppose handsomeness and male beauty in a king was ideal. (The Greeks also liked their kings and leaders to be physically developed.) But it’s a commonplace for a midcentury writer, I guess. A little bit worse was the way the, I don’t know how to describe him, the ‘goblin’ or whatever is portrayed in the third chapter. To make a long and in another person’s hands quite possibly painful, wretched story short and simple, basically the goblin appears to be a sort of colonial native sort of character, such as you might have met in India in the recent past—and not that love for the ex-colonial natives really would have blossomed in the hearts of Britons in the intervening years. The author was actually an American, but the story is Welsh, and like it was filtered through a later Victorian/midcentury filter; I suppose there’s also a sort of ‘British’ filter, too. It’s easy for an Anglo American to imagine himself as a loyal British imperialist, you know. “Come you back, Come you back, British soldier, come you back to Mandalay”, I once heard Frank Sinatra sing, you know. We don’t really imagine ourselves to be ancient colonial natives, not now, not really; certainly not in 1964, right.

(shrugs) The Welshness of it is still charming, of course—the names; the polytheist Celts not being demons and Jesus or whoever not beating them down, just the encounter with the your own, same-culture shadow, right. That’s what it is at its best. It even mentions in passing the existence of powerful Celtic queens, ruling queens, although they’re basically mentioned only and the notable, major characters seem to be basically male….

(shrugs) But I got the book as one for the boys; realistically, you let the boys have their turn, they take it and spit used gum in the girls’ eyes; at the risk of being resigned, that’s life. Although the pop children’s lit books I have aren’t quite as Anglo lad deficient as I remembered; I had an old school baseball boy book, that I was okay with—perhaps pretty good praise in that a lot of children’s lit from the early 20th century was just…. Nonsense; crap: even the famous hero writers were ordered to worship, you know: and the Neil Gaiman children’s book was great. And there are only two girls so far in that group of mine—the first Mary Poppins book, and the first of those wonderful Esther Hicks children’s books, right—and “Bud, Not Buddy”. So I guess I didn’t need to rush reading this, you know. But I suppose it was alright. (shrugs) The date almost doesn’t matter. Maybe a few great and good people have changed since 1964, but if you’re surprised even today at random Anglo lads looking out for the Anglo lad tribe and not anybody else, (except Wales, I guess, thanks to the ethnic miracle—Welsh boys are now Anglo boys in Philadelphia), well then you might need your head examined, because it’s far from unusual, you know. Fucking FAR from unusual.

…. Vaguely misogynistic, you know. Reminds me of Star Trek or something. I feel like Kirk got captured by the Borg Queen, you know. And by the men who love their mothers…. Who do not know true life, comes from God, lol…. And from the information. Information must be kept from the woman, so that when we meet her on the street, we can spit on her feet.

Holy shit; I’m a poet. Do I get an award, now? Do I get cake? After all, I’m a male; I win wars and shit; that means I get to have cake…. Makes sense to me, bitches. (Random villain from “Charmed”) “Clever witch!” Oh, God, that fucking show needed ~writers~, holy shit….

…. It is a curiosity how often in stories like this the hero gets captured—it really is a lot like Star Trek—as it’s a convenient way to paint the discomfort of war, defeat and the shadow in war, and also to introduce a new character, either in the form of an enemy or a rescuer…. It is strange, though, or it would be if it weren’t so predictable, how much suppressed hostility the midcentury male hero has with even a friendly female, you know…. “I’m a solitary bookish male! And you’re a ~female~! None of the books I read were written by women, you know! Nobody knows what you’re like, not really…. I don’t like that about you!”

Although it is true that people have an image of the solitary bookish male, regardless of what he reads, you know. Although part of it is, the art of reading books and learning to read people’s psyches and all the rest of it is one side of the coin, and the art of presenting yourself to people so that it’s a little easier for them to like you, and not to have to guess, based on ~nothing~ that you’re not just another solitary bookish male doing some misanthrope jive talking, right, is the other side of the coin, right…. And, unless I’m greatly mistaken, on MOST of the worlds that the Enterprise visits, coins do have, two, sides, right….

But yeah: since Lloyd neither does nor appears to give a fuck about girls and most people, right…. I don’t know. But I won’t read his other books. I mean, it’s readable. It’s not 100% 24-carat awful, you know…. Again, realistically, to let the boys have their turn is to occasionally read an adventure story that others girls, you know. Hardly the most fun anyone has on an adventure, to be like that, but you’d have to be awfully suspicious and weird to filter out all of them, and probably to weed out all the bad ones you’d have to filter out a lot of fun things, too…. As well, you know, as lots of just ordinary, middle bad, you know. That’s just the way that people act, sometimes.

…. Although the good news is, I can discard that awful Roald Dahl book, you know: Jimmy the Shit-Faced Loner, the Unworthy Planet Earth, and the Chocolate Ticket, right…. I mean, fuck that, right: “kids are bad, there might be a decent boy but never a girl”, right: and in a book where there is a girl hero; it’s like she’s marble: you make her ~apologize~, basically; yes, fucking romantic, for the little children with delicate ears, a Classic of the White Race…. (waves) I have enough pop books, you know: I can discard the little children’s books that make me vomit….

…. But yeah, it’s better than a lot of Dahl-style stories where it’s like the One Lone Male, basically; it’s like, there’s a girl who’s sorta an important character, although the guy is always toying with the idea of turning on her…. It’s an adult book, but Jason Bourne kinda falls midway between those two…. But yeah, it is modestly better than a lot of Merlin-y TV shows, say….

…. The polite hero is always prepared to grandly/out-of-unworthiness dismiss all his friends and companions at the moment of his greatest need.

And that’s a big lol, bitches.

…. I happened to see that throwaway movie Disney made in the 80s that was I guess based on this—all that happened in the 60s, and THAT was Disney’s “Sixties” movie in the 80s, right—I guess it took until At Least the 90s before the 60s happened for Disney, you know…. But yeah, in the movie there was that one awful line, “What would girls know about swords?”—and granted at the time I was afraid for men, “We must not allow our sexism to be revealed!!!!”—it was an awful, awful line, and nobody took him to task for saying it. In the book, the girl and the boy kinda share a mutually abusive relationship, which is…. Different, at least…. From it all going one way.

But yeah, the one thing better about the movie is that he’s “assistant pig keeper” when he’s five minutes in, and when he’s reached mid-movie, that whole title is over. In the book, they’re calling him “assistant pig keeper” after he single-handedly slayed the King of Doom, or whatever. Realistically, he’s the assistant pig keeper when he’s being mentored by the older man, and he’s the leader of the war band (boys’ story! Gnarly, bro!) he’s not a pig keeper, anymore…. Realistically, that’s why the older man makes his exit, so the young kid can take over, you know…. It’s funny: when you’re little, you think a story like this is so objective, or realistic, or something….

…. But yeah, aside from 80s Disney making the story more unambiguously sexist, it’s the same story. It is kinda throwaway, but it is better than say, “The Rage of Doctor Who”, or some generic “Merlin the Victorian Londoner”—although maybe it is a bit like that. It’s like, “Boys’ Story”, you know. But yeah. Okay. A lot really “well-written” pompous shit is really a lot worse, although some of that stuff is better, too….

…. (author note, & bio) Yes, part medieval mythology, part 20th century military technical support person…. (ad) Imagine! King Arthur! And now! For the first time! Entirely, in grey!

(laughs) But it passed the time. A lot of books are really, really terrible, you know: books that never should have been, at least the way that they ended up. This is merely middle-bad, you know: really, only bad, if this is the best you’ve got, basically….

…. And, what the fuck, I’ll call it positive. It’s a little negative, but it certainly isn’t ambiguous. Ambiguity implies things like reticence and subtleness and that is not this…. This is just positive, you know, that’s a little negative.
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goosecap | 166 other reviews | Mar 2, 2024 |
Jason learns all about a cat's nine lives. One day, Jason’s cat, Gareth, tells him that cats can't live nine lives but can visit nine lives. With the wink of his eye, Gareth transports them to Egypt where they meet Pharaoh Neter-Khet and teach him that cats aren't possessions. From there they go to Rome. Roman soldiers take them to Britain where they meet Cedric Longtooth and his wife. In Ireland, they meet the servant boy who grows up to become St. Patrick. Then it's on to Japan, Italy, Peru, the Isle of Man, and Germany. Their final stop is America. They travel with a peddler and witness the opening events of the Revolutionary War. All of these adventures take but a moment, and Jason returns home in time for dinner.
©2024 Kathy Maxwell at https://bookskidslike.com
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kathymariemax | 35 other reviews | Feb 7, 2024 |


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