Taran is unsatisfied with his quiet life at Caer Dallben. He helps Coll tend the garden, make horse shoes, and care for Hen Wen, a very special pig. But Taran dreams of bigger things, swords, battles and becoming a hero. When Hen Wen is spooked by something coming toward Caer Dallben, and runs off into the forest, Taran runs after her, and begins his first adventure. He meets a knight, Gwydion, but he is not at all what Taran had expected. Gwydion is seeking Hen Wen as well, so the two become traveling partners. The search for the pig takes him to places and into danger that Taran couldn't have imagined. Along the way Taran discovers what it really means to be a hero.
How many times have I read this book? At least 4. I am reading it again because it is our Mother/Son Bookclub pick for October. It is such a classic high fantasy for grade school age kids. As I read it again, I was amazed how devoid of violence it is. There are a couple of short skirmishes, but is it nothing like the fantasy books that are being published today with chapter after chapter of tense fighting. When you have less violence, you have more time for character development. The characters and language in this book are a delight. Alexander has an amazing way of creating different voices for each person in the story. As I finished the book, I was ready to pick up the next one, and read through the whole series again. (190 p)