I had a hard time getting into this book at first, most likely because I've seen the film (and my reading has not been up to par lately). Eventually I came to quite enjoy it. Beagle can be a very witty writer (secret judo holds!), and his imagery is unique as well as vivid. The tale itself is set up as a classic fairy tale, but it does contain some darker elements that wouldn't be suitable for some children. A good fantasy read.