Sometimes I wish I could read The Secret Garden for the first time again, find the key, hear that scary sound in the night. To be ten again, and meet Dickon and nurture those roses into blooming as if I don't know what's coming.
I was fortunate, though, to read an old classic for the first time. Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright (a 1958 Newbery Honor book) was a lovely surprise. Beautiful writing never goes out of style! The main character, Portia, has just arrived at the summer house where she and her brother stay, and she picks up Fatly the cat to greet him. "He was just as soft and limp as somebody's old fur piece, and all his paws hung down like empty socks."
What's funny is what happened when I reread Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton (1942) I loved this as a kid but this time through, I was really struck by some of the preachiness. I admired George so much as a child, and I must have glossed over the references to how her cousins were civilizing her and teaching her to be better humored!
The pacing was so different in both of these books. Compared to today's stories, Gone Away Lake was positively glacial. And yet, and yet, I did keep turning the pages. Now the Famous Five adventure--that was packed with suspense, bad guys, and clever solutions.
There are many new children's books that are just as adventurous. I particularly like Sharon Creech's the Great Unexpected and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. What are your favorite adventure books?
Here's what I've been thinking and writing about. I love getting email, too!