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The Book of Three. Past, Present and Future

1 Jan

The other day while looking for a gift for a friend of mine, I was browsing through the local Barnes and Nobles. I decided on a series of books I read many many years ago and thought it would be a fun gift for my friend. The series The Chronicles of Prydian by Lloyd Alexander.

I first read these books over 20 years ago now. It was during the annual book fair at my elementary school that I happened upon this yellow paper back with a cartoon drawing on the front cover. The Black Cauldron the title read. “Also a motion picture by Walt Disney Pictures.”  At the age of seven anything with a cartoon on its cover drew your eye.A cartoon with an elf and a sword is simply irresistable. Upon buying the book at the fair our school librarian let me know that this was in fact the second book in a series. I would have to read the series’ first book, The Book of Three. Luckily the school library had all the other books. One of them had even won the Newbury award, the yellow medal that is sometimes affixed to childrens books!  Soon after I was discovering tales about Taran, Eilonwy, Hen Wen the pig and the Book of Three a tome about the past, present and future. Over the next two weeks I had read through all five books in the series. Paging through these books was everything that reading should be to children. It provided a foundation for the imagination, characters to connect with and even lessons in morality valuable at any age. It was the first time I can ever remember reading something and becoming incredibly sad. I can trace many of my current interets including my love for role playing games and science fiction to the moment when I by chance glanced upon that cover. Many other authors owe Alexander thanks for the money I poured into books since then. The novels were for me what I would assume Harry Potter is to many other children. They were the perfect gift for an adult who could still channel her imagination.

As I took the 5 books out from the shelves they stood on, a young asian boy came walking by. He was the same age I was when I first picked up the paperback give or take a year. With his mom following behind he looked up at the empty space left by the books I had just picked up and saw the cover for one of the remaining copies of The Book of Three.  Immediately he reached up and grabbed the book and holding it in his hand stared at it and exclaimed “COOOOOOOOL.” As handed his new found interest to his mother I could not help but smile a little, hoping that this small treasure would give him as much joy as it did me. I wonder in 20 years whether he’ll be able to trace any of the influences in his life to the green book standing in the shelves left by the man in the childrens section of Barnes and Noble.