Song of the Gargoyle

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Song of the Gargoyle

Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder 

Cover Illustrator: Paul Zakris

Publisher: Harcourt, republished 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0385303019 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0385303017 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0153003783 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0153003782 Paperback

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages ‏9 – 12 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Fantasy (?)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Snyder,Zilpha Keatley.  Song of the Gargoyle (Published in 1991 by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10103).  Thirteen-year-old Tymmon lives at Austerneve Castle with his father Komus who is the influential court jester for King Austern IX.  Tymmon’s mother died when he was only a couple of years old.  One night, five mysterious men in black armor abduct Komus and want to take Tymmon too, but the boy has hidden himself on a high window ledge.  Later, as Tymmon plots to rescue his father, he flees into the vast Sombrous forest depths, where he acquires a strange animal companion named Troff, a huge, ugly, dog-like beast which the boy believes is a stone gargoyle come to life. Together, the two wander the land while Tymmon supports them by the jongleur’s arts.

     They begin in the walled city of Montreff, where Troff displays an unexpected talent for singing while Tymmon plays the flute, enabling them to make a decent living as street musicians.   Who has kidnapped Komus, and why?  Will Tymmon ever be able to find his father?  And when he learns that the black knights are still looking for him, how can Tymmon and Troff keep from being captured?  Author Zilpha Keatley Snyder also wrote three Newbery honor books– The Witches of Worm (1973), The Headless Cupid (1972), and perhaps her best known The Egypt Game (1968).  Song of the Gargoyle is a well-paced adventure story that borders on medieval fantasy.  There are a few references to drinking wine, but I especially liked the scene where Tymmon “took a brief moment to offer thanks to God for such a marvelous feast.”  There is much for preteens and early teens to enjoy in this tale of a boy and his gargoyle.

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