Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

This animal fantasy book contains all the elements of a traditional fantasy—it begins when a young protagonist who feels ill-equipped for greatness is chosen for a seemingly impossible task. Aldwyn the alley cat is selected by a young wizard-in-training to be his familiar. Aldwyn is assumed to be telekinetic and will be the boy's companion and protector. He meets two other familiars, a frog and a bird, and they soon must rescue their "loyals" from almost certain death at the hands of an evil queen. The band of three familiars sets off on a pretty predictable quest to save their loyals and along the way they run from spies and fend off an eight-headed dragon. This is a good introduction to fantasy for readers who may not yet have read widely. While is loved by third and fourth graders at my school, the middle school readers mainly thought it just didn't break any new ground for them. I had trouble getting through it also, but I am admittedly not a fan of animal fantasy.

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