Summertime is the perfect opportunity to take a break from school work and be swept away on adventures to a different place and time, real or imagined, far from the halls of academia. Such adventures include a lot of playtime for children and time to do simply nothing. In the midst of what children do to relax this summer, make sure to include a healthy dose of reading books for fun, such as those suggested below. Books that are engaging and fun can be terrific companions no matter where a child is - inside, outside, at the pool or the beach, on vacation - you name it.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Forgotten Door" by Alexander Key, Westminster Press, 126 pages
Read aloud: age 8 and older Read yourself: age 9 and older
"It happened so quickly, so unexpectedly, that Little Jon's cry was almost instantly cut short as the blackness closed over him. No one knew the hole was there. It hadn't been there the day before, and in the twilight no one had noticed it."
Having fallen through the Door that had been there for so long, Little Jon finds himself in a mossy cave, sore and badly bruised. He is unable to remember much of anything. While his surroundings are familiar in one sense, they are also very strange. It soon becomes apparent that Little Jon is in our world, yet comes from another.
Little Jon encounters other things that are alien to him as well, such as hatred, greed, selfishness, and the ever-present struggle for power. Befriended by a family of good people who are determined to help Little Jon find his way back home, their mission is dramatically hindered by several evil people who have plans of their own for the stranger.
Suspenseful from start to finish and full of adventure, magic, and interesting parallels and messages, this futuristic book is certain to be remembered long after the last page is read.
Library: Silver City Volunteer Library, Silver City Volunteer Fire Dept., High St.
Volunteer Librarian: Quest Lakes
Choices this week: "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas; "The Princess and Curdie" by George MacDonald; "Aesop's Fables With Pictures" by Milo Winter
Books to Buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
"The Adventures of Polo" by Regis Faller, Roaring Brook Press, 2006, 75 pages, $16.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 4Ð8. Read yourself: age 4Ð8
An enchanting, wordless picture book, young readers of many ages will delight in the adventures of the curious, exuberant dog named Polo.
Polo lives in a little house in a tree trunk on a tiny island. One day he fills his backpack with supplies and begins a magical trip to far away places on the sea and under the sea, in the sky, beneath the earth, and to exotic places. Everywhere Polo goes, strange and wonderful things happen. Throughout his trip, Polo makes many friends, and when at last he returns home, many of those friends have come to join him.
Uniquely captivating in more ways than you might imagine, children will be swept away by this wordless adventure as they fill in the story on their own.
"Water Shaper" by Laura Williams McCaffrey, Clarion Books, 2006, 218 pages, $16.00 hardcover
Read aloud: age 11 and older Read yourself: age 11Ð12 and older
Margot is a princess in a strange time and place. When Margot was a little girl her mother died, leaving behind three things for Margot to remember her by - the same pale skin and dark hair, an unexplainable deep love of water, and a mysterious book that changes shape to provide secret knowledge only to Margot.
Margot's life in her father's landlocked kingdom is stifling, and when a foreign king arrives from a coastal town, Margot is taken by his overtures of respect for her understanding of water and its powers. Desperate to go to the sea and wanting to believe that this man, Orrin, is who he represents himself to be, Margot flees from her father's kingdom with Orrin. But she's soon to discover that Orrin is not the man she thought he was, and that his kindness was merely a guise to acquire her magical powers of water - powers she is just beginning to understand and master.
Older girls are certain to be captivated by this seamless fantasy that incorporates a hauntingly beautiful world, a strong-minded princess, and secrets of the sea, seal-people, and what it means to be alive.
• Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org