From the child_lit listserv this morning came the news that Lloyd Alexander had died at home in hospice care this morning. His wife of 62 years died two weeks ago.
I had literally days ago recommended his books yet again to a fantasy reader. I recommend the Chronicles of Prydain more often, probably, than any other series--they are by turns funny, serious, silly, thoughtful, and always entertaining. The central figure, Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran, probably owes something to Frodo and Bilbo Baggins--the humble figure who turns out to be the key figure in the quest--but he also owes a lot to Welsh folklore and all those fated orphans in so much of the folk and fantasy world. He and his princess, Eilonwy (who can outshoot him and is smart and funny throughout the series) were my ideal couple for many years.
Which may tell you more about me than you need to know.
Alexander wrote many other books for children, and Nick savored many of them over the years. He particularly liked Time Cat. I remember liking the Vesper Holly books as well--Alexander wrote heroines as well as he wrote heroes, and I remember being grateful to him for that. I never got to tell him so, so I will now: Thank you, Lloyd Alexander.