The Book Reviews – Website

August 30, 2009

Gone Away Lake

Gone Away Lake

Author: Elizabeth Enright

Page Length: 256

Reading Level: 4

Genre: Fiction (Odyssey, Fantasy)

PLOT SUMMARY: Portia and Foster go to visit their Aunt Hilda, Uncle Jake, and cousin Julian in the country to spend the summer. Portia and Julian enjoy spending their days exploring the wildlife in the area. Their first mysterious discovery is a large rock with a cryptic message. Little did they know that they would encounter a “ghost town” with two inhabitants: the elderly siblings Minnehaha and Pindar. This town is located in a swamp that used to be a lake now called Gone-Away Lake. The kids befriend the eccentric Minnehaha and charming Pindar who expose them to new adventures. They even help Portia and Julian build a clubhouse using items from other abandoned houses in the swamp. Portia and Julian sneak away everyday to visit Gone-Away Lake. They are keeping their new find a secret. There are many questions the kids have.  Why are Minnie and Pindar living in a swamp? What does the writing on the rock mean?  Is there anything hiding in the lake? Where did all the people go? Why did they leave their houses?

REVIEW:  This book is a great magical adventure story. The characters, countryside, and adventures are described in vivid detail. From the very beginning, the reader immediately can visualize the scenes. There is always an adventure to maintain the reader’s attention. The reader finds herself/himself questioning what is going to happen next. In Gone-Away Lake, two generations come together to pleasantly find they enjoy one another’s company.  This story is a wonderfully written innocent tale of summer adventures and friendship. 

AREAS FOR TEACHING:  theme, setting, character analysis, compare/contrast, sequence of events, voice mood and tone, 5 steps of the writing process, adjectives

RELATED BOOKS: All-of-a-kind Family by Sydney Taylor, Miracles of Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen, Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, and From the Mixed-Up Files of  Mrs. Basil E. Frank by E.L. Konigsburg, Eleven Kids, One Summer by Ann M. Martin, The Perilous Road by William O’Steele, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters by Jeanne Birdsall. Books by the same author: Return to Gone-Away Lake, The Saturdays (The Melendy Quarter), Thimble Summer, The Four Mistake (The Melendy Quarter), Then There Were Five (The Melendy Quarter), Spider Web for Two: A Melendy Maze

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: A Plumm Summer (2008), Hotel for Dogs (2009), Bedtime Stories (2008)

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.getty.edu/education/for_teachers/curricula/arts_lang_arts/a_la_lesson18.html

 http://daily-tangents.com

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/resources/activities/habhunt.phtml (scroll down to Art or English section)

 http://www.education-world.com/a_tsl/archives/00-1/lesson0061.shtml

REVIEWED BY:  Tammy Leitzel

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