What parents need to know
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.
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?