The Chronicles of Prydain series
The Book of Three is the first in a five-book series based on Welsh legends. Taran dreams of being an acclaimed warrior, but is instead assigned to the role of Assistant Pig-Keeper. When adventures take him away from the safety of his home farm, Taran has to face the fact that his dreams of heroism aren't quite as glamorous as he imagined.
Class Structure Recommendation: Independent Reading
Complex vocabulary makes this series inaccessible to some readers, and fantasy battles with mythic villains aren't for everyone. Much beloved by a core set of fans.
The Black Cauldron is the second book in this series: a Newbery Honor book, and my favorite. Taran and his companions meet a new set of villains in their quest to destroy Arawn's evil cauldron. Once again, Taran seeks honor and glory through the chance to fight in battle, but basic obstacles - including a competitive, surly prince around Taran's age - continue to surface.
The third book in the Chronicles of Prydain series takes Taran and his companions to Eilonwy's homeland, where she is assigned to learn how to "behave like a princess, whatever that means." Of course, trouble is afoot and the companions are called upon to battle against enchanters, giants, and corruption in the castle.
Few of Taran's regular companions appear in this fourth book, making it my least favorite (it's just not the same without Eilonwy). It could be argued that this is the book where Taran learns what it means to become an adult, as he travels to different lands and learns various skills and makes contacts with people across Prydain.
This Newbery Award winning final book reunites Taran with many characters from previous books in the series, and asks Taran to prove his worth in many different ways. The final book is satisfying because it is the journey Taran has wanted to take since the series began, and readers who have traveled with him to this point understand his strengths and failings as he faces each challenge.
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