Alexander, L. (1964). The book of three. Henry Hold and Company. New York, NY. pp. 186. (Grade Level: 4th-6th).
Taran dreams of being a hero, but all he knows is helping around the farm and being the Assistant Pig-Keeper, a title given to him half in jest. When the pig, who can foretell the future and is therefore important, runs away, Taran begins a journey to find and rescue the pig. His task soon becomes greater than he had anticipated and the safety of the entire country of Prydain lies with him and some interesting friends.
This novel provides the perfect opportunity to discuss heroism, and what it truly means. It is a great context for discussing responsibility, and for discussing the battle between good and evil. While the book seemed slightly juvenile to me, I was surprised to see it had been published about fifty years ago; while reading the novel I could not tell it was so seperated from me in time.
The Book of Three qualifies as high fantasy by fulfilling five of the fantasy attributes. There are several characters who can perform magic, as well as a prophesying pig. The story is set in another world called Prydain. There is a strong fight of good versus evil, and the line between the two is clearly drawn. Heroism is a central topic, and qualities of a hero are discussed indirectly. And there are fantastic objects, including a harp whose strings break when its owner stretches the truth, a cursed sword, and an enchanted history of the world called The Book of Three.