by Jane Langton, published 1962
“The sky grew blue-black, and they left the shadowy earth behind. There were stars above them and below them. Their wagon floated gently among them as though it had been a rowboat floating in the Concord river.”
How delightful to find a children’s book with so many of my favorite people: the transcendentalists, Krishna, and children who love adventures. This very cleverly-written fantasy children’s book is a mystery of a sort, as the children try to find missing relatives. However, the book is also sprinkled with lots of the wisdom of the transcendentalists, which is a curious literary style. Much of the wisdom that is offered will go over the head of younger readers, but the book is not meant for older students who would be studying the transcendentalists. I think that in this case, the words act as seeds for later ideas that will sprout on their own.
The adventure in the book actually has some scary moments, but since the book was written in the 1960s, it doesn’t have the edge of darkness that contemporary books tend to have (imho!). I also love that the plot relies on the events in dreams to guide the children to the real-life solution to the mystery.
All in all, a well-written, thoughtful children’s book, for anyone who might enjoy reading of a time past. (Try getting this one from the library first; copies may be hard to find on-line.)