Padraic Colum was one of the greatest English language storytellers ever to have lived. In general, his work was focused on retelling the classic tales of Western history, shaping them with vivid language and a lilting cadence such that you could almost hear his Irish voice ringing forth from the pages. Sometimes, however, he burst into a tale of his own (see, The King of Ireland’s Son, for instance) and took us into new worlds with a feeling for both story and language that is rare and unique. I just love his work.
The Boy Apprenticed to an Enchanter is one of Colum’s own creations – and it is a rich and masterful treasure. It languished in the hazy realms of out of print books for years and years, almost entirely forgotten save by a few whose tattered copies were still passed from hand to hand. Now, one of my favorite publishers, Whole Spirit Press, has brought it to life again. Hooray! It is a perfect 6th grade reader and a wonderful read-to for earlier years.
The story unfolds during the Middle Ages and is filled with mystery, intrigue and adventure. There are battles against evil in several forms, and a long journey to find the truth and Merlin the Magician (who knows all the answers). Revelation and adventure abound and include Eean arriving at the Tower of Babylon and meeting Chiron the Centaur and Hermes Trismegistus.
This is fabulous, wonderful reading that will fire the imaginations f children and adults. How lovely to see it in print again.