Atheen Hills (Mpls, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This was a very charming story. If the author actually finishes the series, it has the potential to become a classic, as young people who read it today introduce it to their own children years hence.
The publishers suggest Aidan or Oren for third and fourth grade readers, and from the level of the sentence structure and vocabulary I'd agree. I think that pre-literate and early literate children would also enjoy it as a "read-to-me" book as well, although they may have to have some of the vocabulary explained. Words are age appropriate and introduced repeatedly in different sentences so that meaning can be learned from context and practiced, but the work is not so repetitious that is boring or pedantic, something that might irritate an adult reader.
The world of the children is delightful, and each child is an individual as are the non-humans Charles and Damon. The world of adults is kept in the background and viewed as it probably is to most children, as full of "advisors" and "teachers" and social interactions of which children are not a part but to which they are important. While the action of the story is probably a little tame for an older child, the trials confronted by the central characters of Aidan and his friends McKenzie and Lilly, are those of real children who have reached the magic age of thirteen, since the story is a coming-of-age tale.
Thirteen is that pivotal point between childhood and adulthood that is full of discovery, especially self discovery, when every child learns who he or she is and what they are meant to become and to do. While most children are not confronted with dragons or talking birds, elves or trolls, they are confronted with changing roles and expectations that can be equally magic at one time and frightening at others.
In the story Aidan discovers his abilities and his "destiny" with the help of his capable peers. He learns, among other things, that the responsibility of leadership is the well-being of others, and that while one person, even the leader, cannot know and do everything, the group or community may.
Truly an enjoyable book; well written and well crafted.
Children, parents and teachers have found a treasure!!!, March 9, 2005
Melanie J. Vanni (Northern New Jersey) - See all my reviews
Family members will enjoy time well spent reading Aidan of Oren with their children. The chapters flow seamlessly and the story is captivating throughout enhanced by delightful illustrations. The end undoubtedly takes one's breath away; but, this just ensures an even deeper breath in anticipation of the next book.
In this era of immediate gratification, we the readers are encouraged to formulate our own hypotheses as we use our imaginations transforming ourselves into this enchanting continuing story. For teachers, this is a wonderful guide for comprehension and introduces, in a fun way, techniques for recall throughout the whole story. Furthermore, Aidan of Oren offers multi-curriculum opportunities for hands-on learning involving maps, plays, social standings, problem solving, conflict resolution, prediction, grammar and magnificent vocabulary. Educational tools such as journal entries, group readings, discussion questions and following up opinions with 'facts' from the book are enhanced by the magic of the story itself and the colorful characters within.
Aidan or Oren is so welcomed in this day and age where life is too serious for the young. Kids still need to be kids and escape, even if just for a little while. Thank you, Mr. St. Jean for sharing this tale with us.
New Fantasy Series Captivates Young Readers, March 2, 2005
Lisa CatholicMom "lisa_catholicmom" (Fresno, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Fans of the Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia series have a new resource to share with the younger readers in their families. Ohio author Alan St. Jean recently released the first volume in his planned trilogy, Aidan of Oren: The Journey Begins (Moo Press, October 2004, hardcover, 207 pages). Aimed at readers ages nine through twelve, this first installation introduces young Aidan and his brave quest for peace. Themes of bravery, loyalty and friendship permeate the tale, which will captivate the attention of both young readers and families who enjoy story time aloud. Charming illustrations by Judith Friedman bring the characters to life and lend Celtic charm to the story line.
Not Harry Potter retread, October 21, 2004
Kristin J. Johnson "Three-time published author" (Palm Desert, CA) - See all my reviews
Aidan of Oren, his best friends, Lilly (means "wisdom and purity") and McKenzie (means "warrior"), and his pet falcon, Charles (a royal bird of the family of Wingdom), love the stories Aidan's gentle grandmother tells. But Aidan never dreams he will be living a legend far beyond any of his favorite legends.
A terrible war engulfs the land and the country of Lionsgate alone stands untouched, except for orphaned children like Lilly, McKenzie and Aidan, son of a powerful wizard and a mother created from the earth. Aidan, Lilly and McKenzie embark on a perilous quest, encouraged by the love of Aidan's grandmother. A terrific, magical adventure tale of friendship and courage.
Great reads for grades 4-6 (and all ages!): by allisongt, Reader working in publishing
Booksense Children's Pick for Winter 2004-5 "The story emphasizes courage, compassion, concern, and commitment, charming illustrations add to the appeal."
Nancy Eaton, Bestsellersworld “Young adult readers will enjoy this magical story. The author has done an excellent job...”
Molly Martin, AuthorsDen "A fast-paced exhilarative read...reminiscent of Baum's long time favorite Oz series."
Christy Tillery French, Reviewer, The Midwest Book Review
"A mythical adventure that will engage any child's imagination...plenty of action and subtle suspense."
Joanne Zerkel, The Star "For those Harry Potter fans...a magical story...lovely pen and ink drawings by Friedman will spark any youngster's imagination."
Christina Lewis, Kidsbookshelf.com "A delightful fantasy that young readers will enjoy."
Atheen Hills, Reviewer for Amazon “Very charming story... has the potential to become a classic...truly and enjoyable book; well written and well crafted.”
Kristin Johnson, MyShelf Reviews “A fabulous quest and a prophecy about dragons, elves, and three orphans...first in a series...an enchanting, captivating beginning.”
AIDAN OF OREN: The Journey Begins
"This fantasy story introduces a young hero named Aidan who sets off on a quest with two friends, Lilly and McKenzie, and a falcon who can speak, but cannot fly. The story emphasizes traits of courage, compassion, concern, and commitment, and charming illustrations add to the appeal."