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The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1) Paperback – May 16, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (May 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805080481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805080483
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A very funny adventure tale set in an imaginary kingdom... The writing is sophisticated."--Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"The author draw his figures with the ... touches of irritability, doltishness and contrariness that leavens with high good humor the high fantasy."
--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

About the Author

Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007) was the author of more than forty books for children and adults, including the beloved children’s fantasy series, the Chronicles of Prydain, one of the most widely read series in the history of fantasy and the inspiration for the animated Disney film, The Black Cauldron. His books have won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal, the Newbery Honor, and the National Book Award for Juvenile Literature.

Customer Reviews

Definitely recommend to anyone, kids or adults, who love fantasy and easy reads!
Sarah Lynn
Fortunately, The Book of Three is just the gateway into one of the best fantasy series ever written.
Charlie Brooks
The Chronicles of Prydain is a five-book high fantasy series by Lloyd Alexander.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Neil Roseman on November 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this book for the first time about 30 years ago, when I was 10 years old. Recently I re-read the entire series, and was enchanted again.
The tale of Taran and friends has everything a great children's book should: adventure, danger, good, evil, love and death. And, there is lots of humor, too, which you don't always find in similar clasics. The writing is great throughout -- this is not Goosebumps -- and the child who has the privilege of reading the Chronicles will surely be changed. The story, based on Welsh legends, subtly explores the great mysteries of life, and teaches lessons about bravery, honesty, compassion and devotion, without ever being preachy or obvious.
These books belong on the same shelf as the L'Engle Time trilogy, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising Sequence, the Narnia Books and a small number of others.
Buy this for a favorite kid (maybe one that has gotten hooked on reading through "Harry Potter"), but get it for yourself, too.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christopher P. Barton on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Am I the only person who sees amazingly tight parallels with STAR WARS in these books? It should be noted that Lloyd Alexander's books were composed first, before Chewbacca coughed up his first hairball.
Consider the similarities:
Taran/Luke works on a farm. He hates it there, and wants to be a hero. One day, his pig HenWen/his droid R2D2 runs off and this engages our young hero in an adventure where he meets a sage old wizard/jedi knight, a rogue-ish fflam/han solo and giant hairy sidekick gurgi/chewbacca. THEN, they go off to save the willful, mouthy, brave princess eilonwy/leia from the evil horned king/darth vader, who has countless soulless soldiers/stormtroopers at his disposal.
interesting, huh? when i was a 7-year-old star wars addict, i stumbled across "the book of three" in my school library. when i saw that the book could have been the source material for the best movie of my young life, i became obsessed with all five books, and gobbled them all up enthusiastically.
each book is wonderful. the characters are charming, the stories just go and go and go, and you don't want the five books to end. and, for star wars geeks out there, ya gotta check out the similarities. it's certainly interesting...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Godly Gadfly on February 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A heroic fantasy full of farce. That's the best way to describe Lloyd Alexander's "Chronicles of Prydain." The world of Prydain is reminiscent of the inhabitants of Tolkien's Middle Earth, including a Sauron figure (Arawn), his minion Saruman (Achren), orcs (Cauldron Born), spying crows (Gwythaints), dwarves (Fair Folk), a Gollum like creature (Girga), a Gandalf wizard (Dallben) and an Aragorn type hero (Gwydion) - although many of the similarities are due to the common source of Welsh mythology. But don't be fooled by the similarities, because Alexander's Prydain replaces the serious heroic tone of Tolkien with light hearted farce and a comic atmosphere. The title given to the hero Taran says it all: "Assistant Pig Keeper." A would-be hero figure whose job is to take care of a prophetic pig, Hen Wen? Not very noble, but it sure is funny. Instead of a heroic noble warband, Taran's company is "a crew of - of what? An Assistant Pig-Keeper. A yellow-headed idiot with a harp. A girl with a sword. A shaggy what-is-it. Not to mention the livestock." (p175-6). Alexander uses the girl, Eilonwy, to poke constant fun at Taran and his thirst for heroism and adventure. When Taran heroically says "Spiral Castle has brought me only grief; I have no wish to see it again," Eilonwy brings his heroism back to earth with the slapstick remark: "What has it brought the rest of us? You make it sound as though we were just sitting around having a splendid time while you moan and take on." She serves to provide constant reminders of his stupidity. Meanwhile Ffewddur, the "yellow-headed idiot with a harp," a bard who was rescued by mistake, serves to add to the comedy. His tales about his heroic exploits are exposed as fibs when his harp strings break every time he stretches the truth.Read more ›
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brian Markowski on January 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Book of Three" is the first book in a five book series called the "The Chronicles of Prydain". This first book follows a young assistant pig keeper named Taran. He is a ward of old scholar and a middle age farmer, but Taran is unsatisfied with his life. Taran wants of adventure and soon finds it when his pig, Hen Wen, runs away one day. While searching for him Taran runs into several soon to be allies, Gwydion - a warrior prince, Gurgi - a furry humanoid creature, Eilonwy - a beautiful and magical princess, Fflewddur Fflam - a traveling bard, and Doli - a dwarf. Through the course of his adventure Taran and his allies are often hiding from or dealing with the dark forces of Arawn ( the Death-Lord) and his warrior servant The Horned King.

The book has some obvious influence from the "Lord of the Rings", the furry Gurgi resembles the far darker and more conflicted Gollum. The allies that Taran gathers is not to unfamiliar to the Fellowship that combines in LOTR. Even the antagonist, The Horned King, strikes a resemblance to Sauron. Despite the similarities and the
tongue-tying Welsh based character names. "The Book of Three" does mange to find it's own voice and rise above most of the clichés. In fact it's a rather good primer for younger readers interested in fantasy. The plot goes in some unexpected directions and the ending is quite good and surprisingly grounded. There are better books in the series of Prydain, but "The Book of Three" gets things off and running.
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