Common Sense Media says

An atmospherically mystical tale.





What parents need to know


A dog is kidnapped, and there is a threat to kill it.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the folklore and suspense will hold readers' interest, though the pace sometimes flags. Readers will learn about folklore and witness problem solving in this mystery. The success of the heroes is due to Jane's selflessness.

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What's the story?

Agents of the Dark steal the golden grail and are trying to get the manuscript that translates it. It's up to Simon, Jane, Barney, and Will to battle the forces of evil. Jane is drawn into a relationship with the mysterious Greenwitch, guardian of the manuscript. Great-Uncle Merry enlists the sleuthing skills of his niece and nephews, Jane, Barney, Simon, and Will Stanton, the new Old One. With the ancient grail in their possession, the Dark is just one step away of destroying all that is good if they can get their hands on the manuscript.

The document, which will provide the translation of the carvings on the grail, was tossed into the sea and is now protected by the Greenwitch. In the small village of Cornwall, only the women are allowed to attend a ritual to pay homage to the Greenwitch, and Jane is invited. Jane feels sad for the Greenwitch, and when it is her turn to make a customary wish, she wishes the Greenwitch could be happy. Thus, a bond is created between the two.

Is it any good?


The result of uniting the Drew children with the immortal young Will Stanton is not always effective: Will's character comes from a dark world of magical power, while the Drew children are from a mystery/adventure story. Will's maturity and acceptance of his duties as an Old One can be interpreted as cockiness in comparison to the Drew children's lack of supernatural power. However, the kids have grown up since the first tale, especially in the case of Jane. Celtic folklore is woven through the story, and readers learn some Greek mythology in the realm of Tethys.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the children in this tale solve problems. What are some of the challenges they encounter, and how do they overcome them? What are some of the qualities they possess that help them solve problems?

Book details

Author:Susan Cooper
Illustrator:Alan Cober
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1973
Number of pages:131

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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