We’re continuing to enjoy Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, and we finished the third book, The Castle of Llyr, this morning after a few marathon read-aloud sessions. This tale included the further adventures of Taran and Eilonwy and their band of delightfully ordinary friends. They run up against a befuddled princeling named Rhun, a small-spirited giant named Glew, a giant wild cat named Llyan, and a few familiar heroes and enemies from previous books. Eilonwy is kidnapped and we had a few tense chapters while…Continue Reading “The Castle of Llyr”

I reviewed this book a few years ago, and looking back, I find that I still appreciate the same things after reading it aloud to my daughters over the last week (on the heels of The Book of Three). As I said then, the book makes me think of lots of other stories, and I liked that: My brother-in-law says there are only about 5 stories out there, remixed over and over. I’m not sure if I agree, but I did find lots of connections between…Continue Reading “The Black Cauldron (Aloud)”

We finished The Return of the King last week. I’ve been rereading the trilogy, supplementing with the audiobook and sharing it with my daughters. And I was ready for it to be brought to its conclusion. But it has been a great experience to revisit these tales. I have to admit that there are a couple of things that made me uncomfortable this time around. There is a lingering over evil that seems almost prurient at times: the threats of the orcs when they argue,…Continue Reading “The Return of the King”

I picked up Breadcrumbs because it looked attractive on the new books shelf at the library, and because I remembered reading Amy’s review awhile back. I read it because I needed something on the light side. It was an “easier” read than some of the denser fare I’ve waded through lately — which is to say, it’s readable and absorbing. But it’s not trivial. Anything but. The plot centers around Hazel and her best friend Jack, who suddenly becomes mean. Though Hazel’s mother explains that…Continue Reading “Breadcrumbs”

What do you do when your ten-year-old daughter hands you a book and says, “You have to read this. Then, I want to see it on your blog. And I’ll help.” You read it, of course. So I did. Persimmony Smudge lives in Candlenut, by the Willow Wood, where the summit of Mount Majestic is plainly visible. The castle of King Lucas the Loftier is there, and to all appearances it’s an ordinary mountain. But appearances can be deceiving. Underneath it sleeps a giant. If…Continue Reading “The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic”

This haunting novel is classified as a children’s book, though to my mind it seems more like an adult book with child characters. Although it’s poetic and truthful in its depiction of character and psychology, its storyline is intriguing, and for many it’s considered a modern classic, it’s not a book I recommend. First, the details. Charlotte Sometimes is a time-travel story with a twist, originally published in 1969. 13-year-old Charlotte Makepeace goes to boarding school and sleeps in a unique bed with wheels. Though…Continue Reading “Charlotte Sometimes”

I’ve never seen Rumer Godden’s The Dragon of Og on a list of classic children’s books, but if it were up to me it would be there. I picked it up at the library last week and read it to my kids, and all of us were charmed. I have Rumer Godden classified in my mind as a heartbreaking writer. I’m not sure why. I know I read The Diddakoi, but I don’t remember much of it at all. The Dragon of Og is only…Continue Reading “The Dragon of Og”

Westmark was published in 1981, but it’s a new Lloyd Alexander find for me. I’ve read the Prydain Chronicles, but hadn’t ever delved into this author’s other books. There are quite a few, and perhaps I didn’t know where to begin. Westmark has some of the same qualities I loved about the Prydain Chronicles: a flawed but true boy/young man for its main character a quest for identity fast-paced adventure a fictional realm that (apparently) gets developed in the rest of the series exuberance and…Continue Reading “Westmark”

I thoroughly enjoyed this fairytale for adults. Fast-paced, witty, and full of the off-beat mystery of the realm of faerie, Stardust appealed to me in the same way Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell did. It’s no wonder Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman are friends. How I’d love to hear one of their conversations about their art. This tale begins in Victorian England, in the village of Wall, so named for the wall that marks the boundary between the town and the enchanted lands. There is…Continue Reading “Stardust”

On the way home from church today, my youngest daughter informed me that her pencil was stuck, point-first, through the “leather” (plastic) of the car door. When I asked her how it happened, she said, “It was an accident. I didn’t know it was that strong!” Later, it was determined that my husband had shut the car door on the pencil, which was sticking out in that direction. Any visions of my daughter jamming her pencil full-force into the door were erased, and the penalty…Continue Reading “The Book of Three”