Kristin's Reviews > Over Sea, Under Stone

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
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Apr 13, 12

bookshelves: adventure, family, fantasy, kids, read-in-2012, reader-s-advisory, book-club, book-talk
Read in April, 2012

Check this review out and others on my blog: Get Real.

Another foray into classic children's literature proves successful! I've been looking for good titles to purchase for my tween book club at work (older and in paperback equals cheaper and thus more likely that our library children's department will get funding to buy the kids their own copies to keep). A coworker recommended this book to me. It spans a lot of genres - contemporary, fantasy, adventure, mystery and has a lot of room for extension activities. It's also book one in a five-part series, hopefully spurring kids to check out the remaining books at the library.

This started off pleasantly, with the adventure beginning for the Drew family as Barney, Simon and Jane take a vacation in Cornwall, England with their parents and an old family friend. This is a great locale for a book, with its cliffs, proximity to the sea and reputation for being haunted. Over Sea, Under Stone is set in the 1960s, though that was the present time in which the book was written. However, it has a timeless quality and could really take place during any period in time. I like the family dynamic. Each child has its own personality, and the parents and even grow on you. The pacing is great, starting slowly but still giving you just enough to keep you interested. Things then build as the action unfolds. Foreshadowing is good. It's apparent without being horribly obvious. Premise: Children find a mysterious artifact in the attic of the house where they are vacationing. What they find puts their lives in danger.

Susan Cooper's writing is engaging and has a style that is appealing to children and adults. There is also room for analysis and discussion in a classroom setting. The past and present come together in this book, which serves as a nice springboard for a unit on the topic at hand in this book. I'm being deliberately vague in my descriptions because I really don't want to give anything away. Half the delight of this book likes in the discovery of the story. A winner for book club for sure!
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