Cover of Hobby by Jane Yolen

Young Merlin Trilogy: Hobby

The second book of the Young Merlin trilogy (PASSAGER and MERLIN are the others), this tells the story of Merlin as a twelve year old who has lived for four years in the falconer’s home until a devastating fire sends him on his way into an adventure with a street magician and his wife. I am especially fond of the hardcover covers. I researched the falconry stuff carefully and each of the trilogy titles (Passager, Hobby, Merlin) are terms from falconry. This book is loosely based on the short story, “Dream Reader”, from the collection, Merlin’s Booke, but has been significantly expanded, refocused, and changed. The trilogy won the 1988 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. The book was on the 1997-98 Charlie May Simon Preliminary Reading List.

The Young Merlin Trilogy:


  • Trilogy won the 1998 Mythopoeic Award

Around the Web:

What reviewers have said:

  • “Yolen continues to explore such complicated and subtle issues as memory and identity …”–Booklist
  • “Slight but winning, this is an enjoyable introduction to Arthurian fantasy.” — Horn Book
  • “A superb prose stylist, Yolen creates an evocative sketch of her character, which is more an enigmatic glimpse of Merlin than a retelling of any of the traditional tales. Spare and sophisticated, these books will probably appeal to the adult reader as much as (or more than) its intended audience. This trilogy is recommended for any fan of Arthuriana, or, for that matter, any lover of well-written fantasy.” — Mythprint
  • “With this trilogy for middle readers, Jane Yolen is at the height of her literary powers. … There are moments of pure beauty in the text. Young readers will be entertained by this trilogy, but adults will be enchanted. Any fan of the Arthurian legends or fantasy in general would find The Young Merlin Trilogy a welcome addition to their collection.” — ReviewZone (Arthur Slade)
  • “…three relatively short books, but they were quite good and I wanted to share. Yolen is a masterful storyteller, which I already knew, but I love how she integrates Arthurian legend and falconry into these stories. The legends of Merlin are so numerous, and each one tells a different side of the story that it’s impossible to know what aspects of the story are true, if such a man named Merlin really did exist. And even if Merlin only exists in our collective memory, I’m so glad that Yolen is adding to the lore.”–
  • “The characters are all well drawn and appwaling.”—School Library JournalWith its scenes of medieval fairs and brigand characters like Fowler, Hobby is like a much darker side of the world of The Whipping Boy, and has appeal for readers beyond fans of Arthur retellings.”—Library Talk
  • “Yolen’s brilliant blending of legends about Merlin, details of the period, and her own imaginative additions, have produced two brief, beayutifully written stories sure to appeal to children.”—Emergency Librarian
  • “It’s an Arthurian legend made real for the younger set. A truly enjoyable read from a master storyteller and kids will want to read Passager and Merlin which constitute the trilogy”.—Children’s Literature

In print in both hardcover and paperback.