Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager

I didn't know I loved Edward Eager's writing style until recently.

A few years ago, together with sisters and cousins, we attempted a radio drama of 'The Time Garden', but even then I did not know I love the type of writing. I read 'Half Magic' later, and it grew on me. Then this year I read Snyder's 'Any Which Wall', and loved it. And she has the same style as Eager.

And I just read 'Magic by the Lake' today. And it was perfectly lovely. I already have plans for it. The past several years we have stayed at a 'lake house' for a week towards the end of summer, and my aunt and uncle and their three young girls rent a nearby 'lake house' as well. Even in the dead of winter I anticipate sitting out on the dock at night, as the sun sets, or even by moonlight, starlight, and flashlight, reading to my three sisters and my three cousins.

The four siblings in Eager's book wish for magic by the lake. Meaning, in measurements of lake. Not in halves as they had in 'Half Magic', or days like sensible people would have, but by the lake. And at once they see this will be problematic. One lake can hold an awful lot of magic at once. They set up rules, and this helps tame the magic. Over the weeks of their lakeside vacation, they go on many adventures. One rule that the Turtle gives them, though, is that they have to be water adventures. They have a good time and throughly enjoy themselves, even on the non-magic days. But then, they find out that their father's, Mr. Smith's, book store isn't getting a lot of business, and that Mr. Smith himself is troubled over the matter. Can the children use their magic to help? Even if it means no more magic?

As I've said, I love the writing style. The random tidbits of information that make the reader smile, but really do nothing for the actual plot of the story. Actually, it reminds me of one the books I am writing.

One thing I didn't like, and mind you it is a very small thing, is that the children had no sure way to get back from their adventures. They always had to call for the turtle, who either came or sent some other magical being to come rescue them. Or, they had to wait for sunset. It seemed to me that there should have been an easier, more interesting way to end each adventure. I suppose its not that big of a deal, but I would have liked it if the children could end the adventures when they wanted to, and not have to be constantly rescued.

What do you think of the writing style? And the actual book? And other Eager/Eager-like books?


Aubrey DeVries said...

I love Edward Eager... we read his books aloud as a family and enjoyed them so much! Any Which Wall's chapter on the worst pirate ever reminds me a lot of Magic by the Lake. The magic was always backfiring on the children.

Anonymous said...

I also love Edward Eager, but mostly his books. Magic sure is fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!