Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kid Konnection--Gone Away Lake

I am not a book reviewer, and I don't pretend to be. I just like books. A LOT. I am especially passionate about children's books and I do have a "library" in my grandchildren's guest room up stairs. I've collected books throughout the years, at used book stores, school library "sales" and.... taken home discarded books.

Which brings me to my entry into Kid Konnection..... Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright.

Kid Konnection -- is a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books hosted by Julie at Booking Mama.

I picked this book up when I worked at a school library ... it was being discarded, to make room for newer books, and I took it home.


Getting rid of the old, to make room for the new is a complicated issue. I read an article recently in which the author wondered if children's classics will be "forgotten" by kids....forgotten to be read!
Gone Away Lake is not a "classic" in the traditional sense, (whatever that means)  but it was a 1958 Newbery Honor book and it deserves a place on your bookshelf! 
In the story, Portia and her brother take a train from the city to the country--BY THEMSELVES--to visit a cousin. Portia is "beginning to be eleven" and her brother Foster is six and a half, but that's old enough Portia convinces her father and "My goodness what could happen? There were two of them!"


It was a different world in 1957.... I want my grandchildren to visit this kind of world, thru books. (because there is no way, they are getting on a train at 11 and 6 by themselves to travel to the country!! Or a bus, which is what my own parents put me on with my 8 year old brother, when I was 11. We were being sent to our grandparents for a visit) But I would really like for them to enjoy the experience thru books. This book. It makes me sad, that it might not be available to all school kids, because of room. I mean the fact is, that we sometimes do have to make "room"... what a horrible position to be in, the one to decide.  (But why  one would decide to discard a Newbery Honor book is beyond me...... I KNOW;  it probably wasn't getting checked out often, sigh)


I know that great books are coming out now, and will continue to come out in the future, but I hope that there is still a place for older books--with the perspective of that "older" author.

This is my copy.... the  one I picked up at a "discard" sale.

with great illustrations by Beth and Joe Krush
(and a spot on my camera lens..... that's funny, it's like I'm trying to blur out something)


Having said that....my grandson Camron, wanted to go to the library today to get: Goosebumps books.
I told him that I happened to have Goosebumps books upstairs that belonged to his dad and uncles, when they were younger. He said "They're that old?"
Hmmm....maybe even tho Goosebumps are not great literature, and not classics, they are old,er and they're still popular, so... I guess if you're willing to read....it should be encouraged.


I'll read him a chapter or two of Gone Away Lake, and then he'll go to bed with his Goosebumps books.

Sheila L. Beaumont says this of Gone-Away Lake, in a review on Amazon, August 21, 2000,
"Gone-Away Lake" is a delightful, beautifully written story, just this side of fantasy and filled with interesting, likable characters. A brother and sister from the city take the train to visit their country cousin. The children discover an old, mostly abandoned summer colony of houses near a swamp that used to be a lake. There they meet the most charming people in the book, an elderly sister and brother, Minnehaha Cheever and Pindar Payton, who are living happily in the place where they spent summers as children. The pair wear old-fashioned clothes stored away many years ago by their family, cultivate a variety of gardens, and have chickens, goats, a duck, and a cat named Fatly. Once a month, Pindar cranks up the antique Franklin car and drives into town for supplies. The children are adventuresome and imaginative, and have no need of TV to keep themselves amused. The descriptions of the country are amazingly vivid, and there's plenty of humor too. Don't miss the sequel, "Return to Gone-Away." And Elizabeth Enright's series about the Melendy family is also fun to read.

4 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Your grandchildren are lucky to have a grandmother who's passionate about books. I think Goosebumps books are here to stay.

Karen said...

I love old books - I have a collection of old poetry books. I think the oldest dates back to 1898. I love the smell of old books, too. I have a couple of collections of children's books that were ours when we were kids. Don't know if my folks bought them for us or if they were handed down from someone. I'll have to take some pics to show you!

Julie P. said...

I wasn't familiar with this book even though it won a major award. Thank you so much for sharing. There is just something about old books.

Elena said...

I enjoyed reading this book both as a child, and more recently last year. Thanks for reminding me of that experience.

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