The Iron Ring - Lloyd Alexander This is a very accessible, fast-paced and enjoyable fable about a young man and his journey toward wisdom. Along the way he's helped by the usual cast of characters in myths of this sort: His true love, a mischievous sidekick, a beloved teacher, and others whose roles are to illustrate the best and worst qualities in human nature.

Alexander's prose is lucid and unpretentious and perfect for the tween crowd. If you're a parent with a talent for voices, the varied dramatis personae easily lend themselves to a bravura performance before bedtime.

I'm going to pass this along to my sister and her daughters, which should be recommendation enough.