Passager

Author: Jane Yolen

At the age of eight, the nameless boy has been abandoned in the forest for nearly a year. That year of living along with only the wild animals around, struggling on his own to survive, has left the boy more wild animal than human. Still, when a man comes into the woods to train his hawk, something stirs in the boy–to the extent that he secretly follows the man home.

Passager was (as I’ve said before, all Jane Yolen books are) an excellent read–sparse, yet with an unexpected warmth. Theoretically, this is the tale of the great wizard Merlin’s youth, but there’s almost no hint that it is so in this book–just the fact that the boy names himself “Merlin” at the end and a few bits of people whispering mysteriously about his destiny. This is the first of a trilogy though, so there’s probably more wizardly development later. I’m looking forward to it. As it is, Passager is simply a beautiful tale, a very human story. Of note, the chapters are quite short, and the vocabulary is decently manageable (not “Bob saw the cat” easy, by any means, but still). Passager would be a good choice for a developing reader, although I would recommend it for anyone.

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