Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager

Well, here I am, breaking all the long-established rules of good blogging yet again! Post regularly, they say. Stick to your niche, they say. Post on the same day of the week, they say. It’s been a while, this isn’t Christian Fiction, and it isn’t even Monday!– but I don’t care, because this book made me feel as if slipping back into my childhood imagination, optimism, and sense of “silliness” is about as easy and comfortable as slipping into my favorite sweater. The one that I make sure finds its way into the first load in the washer, so I can wear it again as soon as possible.

Magic by the Lake is a children’s book first published in 1957 (not an especially big year for children’s literature, but it did bring us The Cat in the Hat). Second in the Tales of Magic series, it continues the adventures of siblings Jane, Mark, Katherine and Martha as they find themselves “cavorting with mermaids, outwitting pirates, and–with the help of a cranky old turtle–granting a little magical help to the one person who needs it most.”

I fell in love with the book as a little girl; devouring the story of four kids who are lucky enough to end up living by an enchanting, wish-granting lake for the summer… and rediscovered the charm when I was doing a bit of bookshelf spring-cleaning. After all these years, I couldn’t remember most of the plot, so I tried a few pages to see if it was worth all the nostalgic and sentimental feelings the cover evoked, and it certainly was. I couldn’t put it down.

Perhaps it’s the humor; Eager is playful and even a little absurd at times, but he’s also quite clever. He manages to poke fun at tidbits of human nature, particularly the way that children think about things, in a way that is perhaps even funnier to me now as an adult looking back. His stories are always safe, innocent fun (in this case, there’s always a talking turtle to save you if things go horribly wrong) and would be perfect to read aloud to your kids, niece, or even your cat if there’s no one else. (After all, your cat won’t mind your atrocious impression of a pirate accent.)

If you do give this a try (or a re-read) let me know so I can spend far too much time gushing over it with you. Just kidding… I’ll be too busy reading the first book (Half Magic). If children’s literature isn’t your cup of tea, please keep checking in–as I hope to have some new Christian fiction reviews up soon!

All the best,