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The Gawgon and the Boy

Review by Mark L. Olson

The Gawgon and the Boy

by Lloyd Alexander

Puffin 2001, $5.99, 199 pp

I’ve always enjoyed Lloyd Alexander’s stories and this is no exception. It’s a very light YA story about a boy growing up in the 1920s and 30s who is always getting in trouble, in large part because of a surplus of imagination. (about a third of the book is the boy’s own writing about pirates and Indians and other adventures) He falls sick one summer and the doctor decides he must be kept out of school – the boy applauds – and his mother decides that he should be tutored. An elderly relative of his grandmother’s volunteers to take him in charge, a woman who the boy only knows as The Gawgon, after an aunt’s mispronunciation of “Gorgon” – this is a formidable woman.

She very quickly wins the boy’s heart and trust and leads him gently into enjoying what he can learn. (And the boy quickly comes to make The Gawgon – he likes his name for her as it is – and himself joint heroes of his stories.)

It’s a quiet, gentle piece.