Nov 7, 2014 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Missing the Ocean

Missing the Ocean

I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Enright for a while now; she’s written a Newbery Medal winner, a Newbery Honor book, and a lovely quartet of books about a family that I finished reading rather recently.  Our (truly awesome) library system only has the quartet, the Newbery winners, and the sequel to the Honor book, but I did manage to order The Sea Is All Around through inter-library loan.  And I enjoyed it.  It’s about a 10-year-old orphan who moves from Iowa and one aunt to Pokenick Island (Nantucket, in real life) and another; she arrives as winter is setting in. Such a seasonal choice makes the setting one of wind and cold and cloud, but this worked for me.  (I don’t particularly like the sun unless it’s under 65 degrees.)  Enright successfully enlivens such a scene with detailed descriptions of the local flora.  (That sentence makes this review sound really academic, but how else do you convey the fact that her books all mention plants/trees/fungi galore?  I’ve rather enjoyed googling the names to see pictures of what she’s talking about.  My late Aunt Eileen–a botanist and the reason for my middle’s middle name–would be proud.)

Anyway.  The book doesn’t delve into the emotional territory of ‘an orphan passed from relative to relative,’ but that’s not surprising for something written in 1940.  It is, however, an enjoyable tale of a girl learning to love a place entirely different from the Iowa she’s used to. Unfortunately, it’s also out of print.  Since I don’t expect anyone to drop $45-$95 on a book solely on my recommendation, I’m linking to Enright’s Newbery Honor book instead.  Gone-Away Lake tells a story that you long to take part in; a pair of siblings discover an abandoned lakeside resort while on vacation and it becomes a sort of summer playground for them.  The sequel (Return to Gone-Away) takes the story exactly where you hope it will go, which makes this pair of books a delightful present for middle-elementary girls.  (Maybe boys.   But definitely girls.)  In fact, I’m pondering it as a Christmas gift for my almost-eight-year-old.  (Who also has a birthday in about 9 days.  Maybe I should get right on that…)

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