Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Grey King

Susan Cooper
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1975

Fantasy is sadly underrepresented in the Newbery awards. Susan Cooper's The Grey King defied that trend. Why did this one win the Newbery and not any of the others in the series? They all have the same lyrical prose, the same deep foundation in the legends of the British Isles, the same sweeping conflict between good and evil. My personal opinion is that the ALA has an unusual affinity for moody stories about outcast orphan boys and their all too mortal dogs (see Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson).

In this story, Will Stanton of previous books is joined by his new found friend Bran Davies in a quest to find a legendary golden harp and wake a band of sleeping warriors that will help turn back the rising tide of the Dark. One of my favorite parts of the book is the Welsh pronunciation lesson that Bran gives to Will - I still turn to it when I want a quick reference for how to say a word with double d's or lots of y's in it.


  1. HAHA! I still turn to the Welsh pronunciation, too!!!

  2. Perhaps Susan Cooper's greatest achievement is the education of millions of ignorant Americans in the basic pronunciation of Welsh words.