I still have my original paperback of this book. (The white background is iridescent. Pretty cool, but then, I'm easily amused.)
Read Prince Ombra
before I'd ever even heard of Joseph Campbell and The Hero With a Thousand Faces
- I don't know whether MacLeish knew Joseph Campbell at Sarah Laurence, or whether he just read Hero
, but the path of his eight-year-old character Bentley Ellicott is absolutely the one Campbell wrote about: Bentley initially rejects the idea that the strange things that sometimes happen around him might be signs of his greater destiny, acquires a mentor, suffers through various trials, and eventually develops the internal resources to stand against the evil shadow that threatens to destroy everything good in Bentley's life. Bentley is reassuringly human - even with a Destiny, he still finds time to play with friends and otherwise act like a kid. In many stories, the hero has to meet such lofty standards, it's no wonder that a modern boy like Bentley might have trouble recognizing that a kid just like him could be that hero - just not grown up yet.