Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three (1964) is the 18th highest book on the Top 100 Chapter Books list. It’s the first in a series of five stories called The Chronicles of Prydain and it’s part of the story of the 1985 Disney film The Black Cauldron.
What it’s about: Taran lives in Caer Dallben where he is a bit bored with his quiet life of tending to Hen Wen, the oracular pig, and learning a bit of blacksmithing. He would rather be learning to fight and have adventures. But when he gets exactly what he dreamed of, he finds that a hero is defined by much different things than he thought and that friendship and loyalty might change the world more than heroics.
Age level: Grades 4-8
Best character: Fflewddur Fflam, the former king and current bard. His harp breaks a string every time he fibs but he’s such a good person, even if he’s prone to exaggeration.
Worst character: Taran … because it takes him the whole story to grow up and stop saying stupid rude things to people (but I still like him anyway).
I thought this was such a great book that I’ve moved up the 5th book (which is also on the list) in my schedule to the spring for the Once Upon a Time challenge, which means I’ll have to read the middle three this winter. Oh darn. It was really everything about this book that appealed to me — the writing, the characters, the pacing, the adventure. I really wish I had picked it up as a kid, especially when I was watching the movie regularly. Unfortunately, the cover might have turned me off to the story (scary skull guy!). But maybe if someone had put it into my hands, along with The Black Cauldron, I would have just read them anyway and then I would have voted them onto this list too.
The next book up is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane which, coincidentally, Z’s teacher started reading to the class on the first day of school.
Schedule – October through December
note: dates are not necessarily set in stone – posts may go up a day or two before or after
October 15 – #59 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (2006)
October 31 – #81 The Witches by Roald Dahl (1983)
November 15 – #56 A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
November 30 – #73 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (1972)
December 15 – #78 Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
December 31 – Winter Break!