Okay, this was a reread, but for good reason. I finally got a matching set of The Chronicles of Prydain series, and this is the only part that I’ve read before.
Alexander’s influence by Wales and Welsh myth is unmistakable. The names are patterned after Welsh names. The landscape he paints is similar to Wales. The story is structured like those told in the British Isles. I feel this provides the reader with a familiar and comfortable land in which to enjoy the overall story, which relies on morals that are often found in the traditional stories of the land.
I absolutely love the underlying lessons in this book. First, there is the sense of growing maturity in the protagonist, Taran. He goes from a child, longing for excitement and adventure, to a more introspective youth, finding that the peace found at home is something to be treasured above most other things.
Second, we experience his frustration with how his forays into being a hero have ended. He feels he has failed in all his attempts to be a leader, but is reminded that, even when mistakes are made, if you learn from them, they more often than not are worth having been made.
Third, he learns the value of cooperation to reach a goal. Even if he made mistakes, his companions performed admirably. They all had their roles to play. The task was too great for any one person, but a group together can do remarkable things.
As a piece of classic children’s literature, The Book of Three is delightful, and can stand on its own without further reading into the series. I, for one, do not want to stop here, and will be going on with my exploration of Prydain.