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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


****The Arkadians

by Lloyd Alexander

Reviewed March 5, 2006.
Dutton Children’s Books, New York, 1995.
Available at Sembach Library (JF ALE).

Lucien lives in the land of Arkadia, modeled after ancient Greece. He’s a bean counter in the royal treasury, but dreams of more. When he stumbles across an error in the records, he accidentally brings the information to the evil advisors who are stealing from the treasury. Now he has to flee, since they’ll kill him if they find him.

This book tells of Lucien’s many and varied adventures and the amazing characters who accompany him on his journey. His first companion is Fronto, a poet who has been turned into a jackass. Lucien decides to go with Fronto in his quest to become human again. They run into Joy-in-the-Dance, a young priestess who is in hiding since she gave a negative prophecy to the king.

One of the fun parts of this book is that Lloyd Alexander talks about the nature of storytelling. We see many things happen that have the elements of famous Greek myths, but are much more prosaic. For example, some soldiers hide inside a wooden jackass. We’re shown how storytellers brush up stories and can draw our own conclusions about the origin of the Trojan Horse.

I just finished reading this book aloud to my son. It makes a perfect bedtime book with not-too-long chapters and entertaining things that happen in each one.

Reviews of other books by Lloyd Alexander:
Dream-of-Jade, the Emperor's Cat
The Rope Trick
The Xanadu Adventure

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.
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