Many of you might not know that I am a closet YA fantasy writer. I have an agent and everything. Well, not everything. I have yet to publish anything. Small detail. The joy is in the writing! At least, I remember dimly that the joy is in the writing. I haven't written much in awhile. Something about having six children, homeschooling, and being the relief society president. I lack time--that most precious of resources.
I started writing fantasy in second grade. Before then I don't remember spending all my time thinking about dragons and monsters and wizards and hexes--and writing. That's because I hadn't read the Prydain Chronicles yet. I, sadly, didn't even know the books existed. Happily though, my mother gave me the whole series for Christmas when I was eight and I devoured it. I was in heaven. My life was permanently altered and I have never been the same.
Lloyd Alexander is my all-time favorite author. I have a special shelf dedicated to his books and I own almost everything he has ever written (some of the out-of-print stuff is hard to get, but I keep working on it). My children aren't allowed to touch any of it. They are the only books written for kids that I own that I don't share. Mostly because I have read the books so many times that a stiff breeze would blow them apart. I want to cherish them the rest of my life. I should really just buy another set as my "lending"copy.
Now, as many of you know, I have a son who just turned eight. The PERFECT age for the Prydain Chronicles. However, Cowen isn't an independent reader. I debated back and forth between listening to the audio cd with him or making him wait until he could read the books himself. Pros and cons either way.
Since I'm about as patient as a two year-old, I eventually (it took a minute of deliberation) decided to get the books on cd from the library.
My children all really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Book of Three. They've been quoting Gurgi nonstop. But then we listened to The Black Cauldron. Instead of trying to convey to you how much my children loved it, I'll let Eli (my four year old) speak for all of them. Quoted from my family blog:
We finished listening to The Black Cauldron on cd (in fact, I found an excuse to drive to Mom's so we could listen to it--thank you, Emeline, for needing a haircut so desperately!!) the other day. At the end the reader said, "I hope you have enjoyed this production of Lloyd Alexander's The Black Cauldron."
Eli yelled from the back of the van, "WE DID ENJOY IT!! It was AWESOME!!!"
If you haven't read this series or listened to this series, repent. I don't care how old you are or how much you like or dislike fantasy. Lloyd Alexander is brilliant. He takes a bunch of funny characters and makes magic. The best part is that Taran (the main character) really develops and grows and matures (unlike a certain Hogwart's graduate I could mention). It is fantasy at its finest. It is also YA literature at its finest.
Now I must go . . . somewhere. We just started listening to book three: The Castle of Llyr.
PS If you can ever get your hands on Lloyd Alexander's book about his wife, Janine is French, then you are a very lucky individual. It is extremely hard to find, but if you have a good interlibrary loan you might be able to get it. Totally worth any effort you put in. When the people she works with teach her to swear. No, sorry, no spoilers. Just find it. Read it. Laugh. Love life just a little bit more.