Miss Wendy just passed me an article (a few weeks old, now) prompted by the release of The Black Cauldron on DVD. I don’t remember the movie very well; it was the first one I remember going to see in the theater, and I fell asleep somewhere in the middle.
The books on which the movie was based are another matter. The Black Cauldron is just one of the books in The Chronicles on Prydain (and not the first– that would be The Book of Three). No matter how popular children’s fantasy has become since Harry Potter, Lloyd Alexander’s books never seem to get much attention. Yet I’ve never talked to anyone who read these books who didn’t love them.
How can I describe what makes them appealing? You have the immediate kid appeal of an assistant pig-keeper becoming a hero, conflict between good and truly frightening evil, a team of friends who are all likable except when they decide to be irritating, and what I can only sum up as really good writing.
If you see the appeal in Beast Quest but want something deeper, or Tolkien is just too overwhelming right now, or if you just want a fantastic story– try some Lloyd Alexander!