I had another busy weekend at work, but also got in some reading time on two excellent juvenile fiction books. Since both of my lists for the Summer Reading Challenge and the Book Award Challenge are filled with this genre of books, I figured I better get started!
The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney was one of those rare gems that you find once in a great while. In 1923, Eben, a young boy living on a farm in rural Missouri, is bored with his simple life, yearning to see the Seven Wonders of the World that he read about in his favorite book. He wants to see exotic places and learn about different people, something not in his future while living in Sassafras Springs, or so he thinks.
Eben's father challenges him to find his own seven wonders right in Sassafras Springs, promising him a train ticket to see relatives in Colorado if he meets the challenge in seven days. Eben sets out across all of the different farms, asking folks whether or not they have a Wonder for him. In the process he learns a lot about his neighbors and does find a few wonderous things in Sassafras Springs.
I really loved this book and the character of Eben. He reminded me so much of myself a couple of years ago, always wanting to leave the small town I was raised in for something more. Once I did leave, all I've wanted to do is go back, forgetting how many Wonders were in that town. I would recommend this book for young readers, ages 8-12 or so, and of course us adults that love these types of books!
Just this morning, I sat down with another wonderful book, finishing it in one sitting. The Lost Flower Children by Janet Taylor Lisle. I've read her books before, all being delightful and this one didn't disappoint.
Motherless Olivia and Nellie are heartbroken when their father drops them off to stay the summer with their Great-Aunt Minty. They want to spend time with him, but he just doesn't seem interested in them anymore. The younger Nellie, has attached herself to Olivia, looking to her as a mother and refusing attention from anyone else. Olivia is incredibly lonely, wanting to make friends and have fun, but too busy mothering Nellie.
When the girls find a story on Great-Aunt Minty's shelves based on the garden in the backyard, the girls set out to find the magic described in the book. As their search continues over the course of the summer, the girls change and grow, not only closer together, but also closer to others and learn to let go of each other.
Lisle definitely didn't disappoint with this short novel. I read the entire thing with a smile on my face and could feel the magic of the story. I loved the book and look forward to more from this author. Another great selection from the 8-12 category.
Maybe I'll move onto an adult novel of some sort!
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