Monday, May 30, 2011

Review #98: The Book of Three

Dad:  What did we read?
Gracie (age 10):  The Horned King.
Dad:  Nope - wasn't called "The Horned King."
Lily (age 8):  "The Book of Three"!
Dad:  And what is it about?
Gracie:  The Horned King.
Dad:  Okay, I'll give you that.  But who was the MAIN character.
Gracie:  The Horned King!
Dad:  Nope.
Isaac (age 12):  It's about a kid named Taran.  He lives on a farm in the country, and all he does is grow vegetables and learn to make horseshoes.  He hates it.
Lily:  They don't even have horses!
Isaac:  He'd rather go on a quest and be a knight.  Taran wants to be a hero.
Gracie:  This is a medieval adventure story.
Lily:  An awesome one!
Dad:  When I read this book as a kid, it was my favorite book ever.  Each of you guys has a set of books that finally "clicked" with you.  Books that finally sucked you into the world of reading.
Isaac:  Percy Jackson.
Gracie:  Junie B.  That was it for me.
Dad:  For me, it was the five books in the Prydain Chronicles.  I loved them.  I lived them.  I thought about them constantly.  They changed my imagination.  They changed the kind of stories I made up.  Even today... my writing style is still very heavily influenced by Lloyd Alexander who wrote these books.
Lily:  You rock, Lloyd Alexander.
Isaac:  I love these books.  They are amazing.
Dad:  So what is the main point of "The Book of Three"?  What is Taran trying to do in this book?  He has two big goals...
Gracie:  He has to warn the Sons of Don about the Horned King.  And he has to find his pig.
Lily:  Taran's pig knows all the secrets of the whole entire world.  It's a magical pig.
Dad:  Why is Taran the one off looking for the pig?
Gracie:  He wants his pig back.  Wouldn't you?
Isaac:  Taran is the Assistant Pig Keeper.
Dad:  Right, so the pig that ran off was his...?  What.
Lily:  Pig!
Dad:  But it was his re--ssssss...
Lily:  Servant!
Dad:  His respon--ssssss...
Isaac:  Responsibility.
Gracie:  Took us long enough to figure that out.
Dad:  Haha...  So those are the two obvious goals: Warn everyone about the Horned King and find the pig.  But deep down, what is Taran REALLY trying to do?
Lily:  He wants to have an adventure.
Isaac:  He wants to do something that people will notice him for.
Lily:  He wants to be a hero.  He wants to be awesome.
Dad:  But is being a hero what Taran thought it would be like?
Gracie:  No.  He didn't even know you would have to sleep on the ground.
Lily:  He thought quests would be awesomeness.  But they are dangerous.  Like, everyone got caught in a whirlpool and ended up underground with an evil dwarf.
Dad:  Was there a character arc?  Did Taran grow and change over the course of the book?
Isaac:  In the beginning of the book, Taran couldn't wait to get away from the farm.  But by the end, he missed it so much.  He really, really wanted to get back.
Dad:  One of the best things about the book is all the great characters.  Did you have a favorite character?
Gracie:  The Horned King!
Dad:  Who are some of the people Taran meets during his quest?
Gracie:  The Horned King.
Dad:  Who else?
Isaac:  All these crazy companions.
Lily:  Gurgi!  He's a furry-man-thing with sticks and twigs all over him.  And he likes "crunchings and munchings" all the time.
Gracie:  Food.  It's always about food.
Lily:  And he is worried about "smackings and whackings" on his poor tender head.
Isaac:  And Taran meets this girl named Eilonwy.
Lily:  She has a glowing bauble.
Isaac:  And she talks too much.
Gracie:  I like her.  She talks too much, and she's too hyper.  She's just like me!
Isaac:  And there is somebody called Fflewddur Fflam.
Lily:  He is a bard.  A traveler dude.
Isaac:  A person that travels around and lives in the wilderness and plays music.
Gracie:  He gets excited and he stretches the truth.  Which is the same as lying.  And every time he does that, one of his magical harp strings breaks.
Dad:  Tell me something about Doli the dwarf.
Lily:  Well... he's short.
Isaac:  Doli is always complaining.  And he's always trying to turn invisible.
Gracie:  He's grumpy.
Lily:  He's not really grumpy - it's just for show.
Isaac:  Doli comes from the Fair Folk.  They live underground and they have a king.  The king doesn't do much at all.  He's just fat and he sits in a chair and complains.  It's funny the way he looks in my mind.
Dad:  And finally, tell me about the Horned King.
Gracie:  The Horned King!
Lily:  He's an evil dude.
Isaac:  He's this really evil guy.  A war lord.  He wears a skeleton head as a mask.  But he has horns attached to it.
Lily:  He's trying to kill people and capture people.
Dad:  Isaac has already read the whole series.  How about you girls?  Now that we've finished the first book, would you girls like to read the other Prydain books on your own?  At your own pace?
Lily:  Noooo!
Isaac:  I'd like to read them again together.
Lily:  Yeah!!!  Together!  Dad, you've got to!
Gracie:  The Summer of Narnia was good.
Dad:  So maybe this could be the Spring of Prydain?
Isaac:  Yeah!
Dad:  Finish the sentence: Inside these books you will find...
Lily:  Adventure!  Awesomeness!
Gracie:  The Horned King!

Gurgi finds the piggy, by Lily

Eilonwy, by Gracie

the companions meet the dwarf king, by Isaac

the Horned King, by Lily

the Horned King, by Isaac

the Horned King, by Gracie

Taran meets the Horned King, by Isaac:

Author: Lloyd Alexander
Published, 1964: Henry Holt
Like them?  Here they are


Renee said...

I'm dying to know what book(s) "finally clicked" with Lily! Or maybe she hasn't found them yet. In that case, let us know when it happens!
For me it was The Little House books, with Narnia as a very close second.

Heidi Noel said...

The Horned King! Gracie cracked me up. How many times did she say it?

I LOVE these books. I have been trying to get my son to read them. The books that clicked with him were Fablehaven, so I think he would enjoy them. I am kind of embarrassed to say my "click" series was The Babysitter's Club. I am also curious about Lily's books.

Z-Kids said...

Lily is s a great reader, but I don't know that there were specific books that turned her on. She's sort of always been a reader. I do remember that "Judy Moody" was the first big book that she picked up and devoured on her own.

I've heard Fablehaven recommended several times. I need to get them into Isaac's hands...

And Gracie said "Horned King" FAR more than I even typed up here... Goofy girl :)


Will Strong said...

Great review. I LOVE these books so much. Really fantastic adventures.

Nice job on the illustrations too. I especially like Isaac's short comic.

Beth said...

I loved these as well, although my kids haven't clicked with them yet. Maybe I'll make it our June family book club book.

Megan Johnson said...

I didn't read Lloyd Alexander until my children's lit class in college - this is one of my favorite series! Great choice!

LadybugSF said...

This blog makes me happy that one day my baby will grow up and I will be able to talk to her about books. What a great model for how to engage kids in talking about books they've read! Thanks to Jenn for turning me on to Bookie Woogie... I have a lot of catching up to do!