The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander The Book of Three: Book 1 in The Chronicles of Prydain. It’s all Crunches and munches and what the hell kind of name is Fflewddur Fflam? Okay no. Let's backtrack a bit...

I didn't hate this book, which is surprising because I was about ready to chuck it early on. Near the beginning, all the nonsense that flooded the pages had me thinking it was going to go in my Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland pile of children’s fantasies full of nonsense I can't stomach. I soldiered on though because I love middle grade books.

Some adults look at the middle grade genre as beneath them and that’s cool, but there’s a lot you can do in a middle grade book that you really can’t pull off in the adult or even a young adult genres. Nonsense is apparently one of those things, but I think that’s unfair to children to assume that's all the genre can offer. A child can understand emotional stories, and feelings just as much as an adult. Nonsense always bothers me because I feel like it's adult writers treating children like their minds are full of nonsense, which itself is complete NONSENSE.

Mind you, this book was published in the 60s, so I’m a little more forgiving given the state of its genre at the time.

Anyway, a few chapters in, new characters arrived and some semblance of chemistry started to make its way to the surface, and this is when I started thinking I might survive to the end. If you know me at all, character interaction can really save even the crappiest of books in my reads which is exactly what this did. I honestly didn't care about the story line from start to finish, sorry to say, but the characters and their interactions started working as I want on, and that was enough to get me through. The main character, Taran, also kept me from losing my head. Unlike crackheads, Alice and Wendy in their respective stories full of nonsense, Taran at least points out some of the nonsensical things as absolutely ridiculous instead of being entirely ridiculous himself. I need that. I need someone to ground it all back to normalcy if you’re going to throw this kind of stuff at me.

But back to Fflewddur Fflam... I really couldn't read half the names in this book. Names for people, names for places... I'm not big on made up names when they're just randomness that sounds good to the author's ears instead of following some kind of naming tradition, but I'm even more critical over hard to read names whether legit names or not. I'm under the impression that the names in this book are Welsh inspired, but if some of these are legit well... ugh... choose easier ones!? I don't know how to pronounce half the people and places in this book so my mind just registered everything as garbled letter mashes and hoped it could recall the correct combinations when they came back a few pages later. I don't read words out in my head, so it's not too big of a deal, but it's annoying.

I didn't come into this book with high or low expectations so nothing was gained or lost for my time spent. Really, I read this book more to get myself to book 2 in the series: The Black Cauldron. It’s a Newberry Honor winner, which means crap all to me because I don’t seek out those kinds of books, and it’s apparently the source material for my sister’s favorite Disney movie. Therefore, by her rules, I MUST read it, so onward we go!