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Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal/Rowan and the Zebak

by Emily Rodda

Published by U.S. edition: Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2002
197 pages
ISBN: 0-06-029776X

Ages 8 - 11

Australian author Emily Rodda has created a fantasy series perfectly suited to newly independent readers in search of literary adventure. First introduced in Rowan of Rin (U.S. edition: Greenwillow, 2001), quiet Rowan is an underdog hero, who discovers unexpected strength of character inside himself when his fellow villagers are in need. In Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal he must solve a word riddle in order to find an antidote to a poison threatening his mother's life. Unable to reach a solution on his own, Rowan works to unite two children from competing clans to aid him in his quest. Riddles are also a central theme in Rowan and the Zebak, when the words of a wise woman's prophesy are the only directions Rowan has as he attempts to rescue his younger sister after she is abducted by a mysterious winged creature. As he undertakes his quest, Rowan is tormented by his feelings both of guilt, that he should have prevented his sister's kidnaping, and overwhelming responsibility, as he discovers that his entire community is in danger from a monstrous plot. Once again, with the help of a few friends, each of who contribute their own strengths to the task, Rowan successfully completes his quest with an exciting and unpredictable rescue. CCBC categories: Fiction For Children; Fiction For Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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