Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Over Sea, Under Stone

So I'm finally getting around to posting a book review. I decided to start with my all-time favorite children's book, Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. This cover is gorgeous, by the way, and one I've not seen before. It's by David Wiesner of Tuesday and Flotsam fame (LOVE his work!).

I pulled this out recently for another read and decided to take a red pen to it to decipher what made me fall in love with the story. First, the easy stuff:

-Bored siblings looking for trouble
-Mystery, adventure, chases, old books, treasure maps
-British kids using expressions like "Smashing!" and "Rubbish!" and "It's jolly difficult."

Simon, Jane, and Barney, with the help of their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry (a.k.a. Merlin), must evade the terrible Mr. Hastings and recover a relic linked to King Arthur. The kids are smart; they're determined and sneaky. They tell each other to shut up and fight over stupid stuff. But their bond also grows throughout the book. The tension is top-notch, the setting enchanting, the descriptive passages rich and full.

And I love the chase scene with Simon and "the boy Bill" that goes on for pages and pages.

Yes, it was written in 1965. Yes, some of the language is dated. But, like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I could read it again and again and always find something new to love.

I've heard people say they prefer the other books in the Dark Is Rising series, the books steeped in Arthurian lore that focus on the character Will (an Old One like Merlin), but I love the idea of normal, "real-life" kids getting mixed up in an otherworldly mystery with only their wits and courage to guide them. Good stuff.


Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Helena said...

Hey, you got blog spam! Portuguese blog spam, looks like. You have arrived. :)

Love that British slang. Smashing!

Chris said...

Woohoo, spam! Oops--guess I shouldn't get too excited. I'm sure it gets old quickly enough. :)

Helena said...

Yeah, I have turned on comment moderation or the visual character thing if it got bad. Sometimes I would get several in one day, which is a little too annoying.

Helena said...

Hey, did you see there's a movie of "The Dark is Rising" coming out soon? Doug looked up some stuff about it and was not overly impressed. Alas.