The Hound of Rowan: The Tapestry, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Similar to Potter, but stands well on its own.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Max deceives and lies to his loving father, and encouraged to do so by his teachers and headmistress. He is left alone at home overnight, allows strangers into the house, and lets one of them spend the night.


Several rough fistfights, and one that involves a knife; animals eat live prey; a boy kills a dog; another kills a monster with a spear; a boy is cut with a knife and bitten by a monster; a shotgun is used.


A mooning; some kissing.

Not applicable


Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An adult smokes a pipe, children and adults drink wine and champagne.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is some moderately rough violence here. More disturbing is that Max is encouraged by his teachers and headmistress to lie to and deceive his caring father, and they magically manipulate his father's feelings and memory when he doesn't go along. Max is also left alone overnight at home, only to allow in two strangers, one of whom lies to Max's friends so that he can spend the night at Max's house.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Max McDaniels discovers he has magical powers when he receives an invitation to attend Rowan Academy, a secret school of magic. But he also learns that other children with similar talents have been disappearing, and that an ancient enemy may be reawakening and searching for him, in fulfillment of a prophecy, as a means of reentering the living world.

Is it any good?


Ok, let's get the obvious out of the way first. Yes, there are many, many, perhaps too many, similarities to the Harry Potter series. If that bothers you, then don't even bother picking this up. On the other hand, if something like Harry is just what you've been looking for, then this is the series for you.

While the characters could be more clearly delineated, the setting and set-ups are vivid and fascinating. The author takes the time to explore the school: the bedrooms that change to suit their occupants; the Sanctuary, wherein live magical creatures, sometimes the last of their kinds, that the students are assigned to care for and bond with; and the Smithy, where the students undergo combat training in holodeck-like simulations of increasing difficulty. One could spend a great deal of time finding both favorable and unfavorable comparisons between the Tapestry and Harry Potter series, but it's a pointless exercise: on its own merits, this is an exciting and clever story, and a promising debut of both a new author and a new fantasy series.

Families can talk about...

  • Families who read this book could discuss the inevitable comparisons to Harry Potter. What are the similarities, both large and small? What are the differences? Does it matter if a book is similar to another? Is this different from movies or TV shows that are similar to each other?

Book details

Author:Henry H. Neff
Illustrator:Henry H. Neff
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:September 1, 2007
Number of pages:414
Read aloud:9
Read alone:10

This review of The Hound of Rowan: The Tapestry, Book 1 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; 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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Kid, 9 years old April 6, 2013

One of my favorite books!

I really liked it because of the different kinds of magic. There are cool animals like a peacock with three legs and a silver mountain goat who translates any language or code. It was really exciting!
Kid, 11 years old February 3, 2011

perfect for kids who love mygical thing ( the tapesty )

im 11 and love the book im reading it for the sencond time and love it, it's great
Kid, 10 years old December 2, 2009


love it great book


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