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SFF Author: Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander Children's fantasy author(1924-2007)
Lloyd Alexander wrote fantasy for children. Here are some of his awards:
• The High King: 1969 Newbery Medal for children’s literature, finalist for the National Book Award and the American Book Award
• The Black Cauldron: 1966 Newberry Honor, the basis for the Disney film The Black Cauldron
• Taran Wanderer: School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
• Westmark: 1982 American Book Award, ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year



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Time Cat: Lloyd Alexander’s first book

Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

Published way back in 1963, Time Cat was the first book ever written by Lloyd Alexander, and as such, exists as an interesting comparison to many of his later books, with echoes of plots and characters that will later be used in his more famous and sophisticated works. It is quite a simplistic book, with a straightforward story told in clear but sparse prose, but there are certainly traces of the excellence that is to come in Alexander’s later books,


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The Book of Three: Our very highest recommendation

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander’s fantastic five-part Chronicles of Prydain begins with The Book of Three, which is required reading for anyone who considers themselves a fantasy fan and/or a lover of children’s literature — or in fact anyone who loves a darn good book. And you can’t stop there — make sure you have on hand the following volumes: The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer and The High King.


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The Black Cauldron: Mystery, suspense, adventure, and intrigue

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

The Black Cauldron is the second in Lloyd Alexander’s five-part Chronicles of Prydain, and possibly the most well known. When discussing these books with other people, you’ll usually get a blank look if you say “the Prydain books” or The Book of Three, but if you mention The Black Cauldron, you’ll probably get a vague sense of recognition. It is a Newbery Honor book and was made into a Disney film,


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The Castle of Llyr: Put The Chronicles of Prydain on your child’s book shelf

The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander’s five-part The Chronicles of Prydain is essential reading for anyone, regardless of age, gender or reading preferences. Although they are classed as both fantasy and children’s literature, these books can be enjoyed by everyone, not just for its fantastical elements and the broad good vs. evil conflict, but for their gentle humour, loveable characters and vindication of humanity over, not just fantasy-evil, but the more base qualities of greed, ignorance, spite and pride. At their core, the books are a coming-of-age story for our protagonist Taran,


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Taran Wanderer: Thought-provoking, timeless

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander

In many ways, this fourth book in Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain is the odd one out. It is the only story that does not pit our characters against the forces of supernatural evil (well, except in one small instance). It is the only installment in which Princess Elionwy is completely absent. It is the only story that has no clear destination in its quest narrative. Even the title is a little different, lacking the usual “The” before the noun.


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The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain: Essential companion

The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

After the five-part Chronicles of Prydain came to a close, fans of the series requested more stories from Lloyd Alexander, and he obliged with this anthology. There are eight short stories in all, set in Alexander’s Welsh-inspired land of Prydain in the time before our favourite Assistant Pig-Keeper was born, and each one includes familiar characters or legendary circumstances from the original books. In particular, many of the tales pit the forces of light and life against the main antagonist of the saga: Arawn,


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The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian: “We’ll never know”

The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian by Lloyd Alexander

Despite its mouthful of a title, this children’s novel has everything that you would expect from a Lloyd Alexander story: a likable protagonist, a colorful supporting cast, plenty of twists and turns, and a profound morality at work that is so expertly melded into the storyline that many won’t even realized they’ve been reading about it.

Set in what feels like sixteenth-century Italy (though Alexander is never specific on the time or location) young Sebastian is a fiddler for the Baron Purn-Hessel,


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The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man: A short sweet fairytale from a master storyteller

The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man by Lloyd Alexander

No one does it better than Lloyd Alexander. One of his early children’s chapter books, The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man contains all of his trademark wit, wisdom and warmth, as well as a valuable lesson and plenty of delightful characters.

After giving his cat the gift of speech, the magician Stephanus is now harangued by requests to turn him into a man. Lionel is desperately curious about the world of mankind,


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The Wizard in the Tree: Not up to usual quality

The Wizard in the Tree by Lloyd Alexander

All the wizards have long since departed this land for Vale Innis — but one has been left behind. When Mallory’s favorite oak tree is felled, she finds a surprising discovery inside: an old wizard named Arbican who’s desperate to follow his fellow wizards across the sea. The orphaned Mallory has grown up with stories of magic and enchantment, and couldn’t be more delighted with the discovery — especially if there’s a chance that she can go with him. Mallory does not have the most wonderful life as scullery maid to the nasty Mrs Parsel,


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The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen: If I ever have kids…

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander

If I ever have kids, I’m going to make sure that their bookshelves are stocked full of Lloyd Alexander’s books. Most famous for his award-winning The Prydain Chronicles, Alexander has carved out a little niche for himself in children’s literature by taking his often-used (but never stale) technique of adapting a particular culture’s mythology and shaping it to include his own brand of wisdom, poignancy and humour. For The Prydain Chronicles Alexander borrowed heavily from Welsh mythology as found in the The Mabinogian,


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The Arkadians: Not as brilliant as his other books

The Arkadians by Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander follows his usual technique of incorporating various myths from around the world into his own original story (as he’s already done with The Chronicles of Prydain, The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, and The Iron Ring) but this time it’s with a clever twist. Instead of taking aspects of myths to work into his own story, here Alexander traces several Greek myths back to their source, outlining the roots of these stories and exploring how they may have been changed over time into the myths as we know them today.


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The Iron Ring: Morals, magic, and mythology

The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander

The trademark feature of Lloyd Alexander’s storytelling is to choose a cultural background and weave his own story into the already existing mythology; his most famous example of this is of course The Chronicles of Prydain, in which his own story and characters were melded with the myths and legends of Wales (as found in The Mabinogian). The Iron Ring gets a similar treatment, as worked into the story are elements of The Mahabharata and The Ramayana,


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The Rope Trick: All the ingredients for a quintessential Lloyd Alexander story

The Rope Trick by Lloyd Alexander

During his lifetime, Lloyd Alexander was a prolific children’s writer, perhaps best known for the wonderful THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN, which is essential reading for any young fantasy fan. The Rope Trick was one of his last books (only two more followed it) and it contains a lot of what his fans have come to expect: a plucky heroine, a twisty plot, nuggets of wisdom, a range of colourful characters (including an enigmatic wise man who always lingers just out of reach) and the familiar theme of it being the journey,


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The FIREBIRDS Anthologies: Excellent short fiction for young adults

The FIREBIRDS anthologies edited by Sharyn November

Firebirds is the first of the three FIREBIRD anthologies edited by Sharyn November. Some people don’t like short stories, especially in anthologies where you are reading several different authors. I, however, almost always have a volume of short stories on my bedside table. Even if I manage to get no other reading done during a hectic day, it is a way for me to finish a whole story in 15-20 minutes. In an age where many authors seem incapable of writing anything other than multi-novel epics,


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Dream-Of-Jade: The Emperor’s Cat

Dream-Of-Jade: The Emperor’s Cat by Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander’s love and respect for felines is obvious — one need only look at the number of books he has written about them, such as Time Cat, The Town Cats and Other Tales and The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man. And who could forget the giant cat Llyan from The Chronicles of Prydain?

Dream-of-Jade: the Emperor’s Cat continues in the tradition of having a cat protagonist who is clever and cunning,


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Next SFF Author: Rebecca Alexander
Previous SFF Author: Cassie Alexander

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