The Book of Three

Common Sense Media says

Adolescents take to this swashbuckling adventure.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The male and female heroes stereotype each other in gender-specific roles, but develop mutual respect.


Battles large and small; understated torture by fire. Enemy forces include zombies that cannot easily be destroyed. Imprisonment, fear of capture and death.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that adolescents take to this swashbuckling adventure, the first in a series of well-crafted stories featuring teenage heroes.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A youth impatient to escape his sheltered, uneventful life becomes embroiled in a conflict between the forces of good and evil. Taran, jokingly called an assistant pig-keeper for his role in caring for a magical sow at the farm of the enchanter Dallben, is one of the most appealing of heroes, and all too human in his shortcomings.

Is it any good?


Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, is one of the great heroes of literature for older children. Impatient, hot-tempered, and clumsy, he is much more accessible than mighty warriors such as his idol, Gwydion, although that character also appeals because of his kindness and humility. Taran possesses another quality common to the best young characters: He may fall far short of his aspirations, but in recognizing his flaws he is able in some measure to overcome them.

Once he leaves the comfort of home, Taran suspects everyone he meets. But he comes to recognize that each one of his companions would give his or her own life for the others, and that he would do the same for any of them. The other characters, too, are engaging: the charmingly exasperating Eilonwy ("I hate crying; it makes my nose feel like a melted icicle!"), the truth-stretching Flfewddur Fflam, and the hairball-like but devoted Gurgi.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about aspirations, glory, and honor. Do you ever feel like impatient Taran, eager to achieve glory? What are his strengths? What are his flaws? How does he challenge himself to overcome some of his flaws?

Book details

Author:Lloyd Alexander
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Yearling Books
Publication date:May 16, 2006
Number of pages:188
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of The Book of Three was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, okay 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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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old May 6, 2011

Best Book Ever!

Best book I’ve ever read next to Harry Potter! The characters really come to life. I was completely engaged in the story. Although there are battles and torture, it’s not too violent. I loved it!!! Thank you Lloyd Alexander.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 9 year old Written byjustaposition April 23, 2009

I have never forgotten my joy at reading this series

i read The Book of Three when i was 11 or 12, not knowing it was the first in a series. i have never forgotten the sense of total enjoyment and amazement at reading this book, and the multiplied joy to discover that it was the first in a series - that i was able to read more of the adventures of Taran, Eilonwy, Gurgi, F.Flam and others. these books are fantastic. i will never forget the name of Lloyd Alexander.
Teen, 13 years old Written byA.M. September 18, 2010

One of my favorites!

This used to be my favorite book! Every time we had to write a book report in school I would choose to read this, even though I've read it a million times. There is a disney movie called the Black Caulron "based" on the books. It ruined the Lotr-style fantasy and turned it into a little-kiddish fairy tale. This book was so cool, but a little violent. I found the main character whiney, but he became more mature in the other books. I love Princess Eilownwy's metaphors and bossy tone, and Gurgi is timeless. Great book! It's one of the few novels that I can escape into. Well, what are you waiting for? Go read it!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages


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