The Book of Story Beginnings by Kristin Kladstrup
This is one of those great books that just begs to be read aloud. What a little treasure!
When Lucy Martin's father loses his job, he decides to take his family to the house he's inherited from his late Aunt Lavonne in Iowa. For Lucy, this is a move beyond boring; whatever will she find to do in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere?
But "The Brick" is no ordinary farmhouse, and this is no ordinary "middle of nowhere." To start with, it's where the Martin family has lived for 100 years--including Uncle Oscar, Aunt Lavonne's younger brother, an aspiring young writer who kept a unique journal of story beginnings. He went missing in 1914 in the middle of the night when he sailed away in a rowboat across a huge ocean--an ocean that totally surrounded this Midwestern farmhouse! How could that be?
Aunt Lavonne followed up on her brother's strange and tragic disappearance by taking a strong interest in all things magic, an interest that she kept for the rest of her life. She had to find out where Oscar went...and where an ocean came from to surround an Iowa farmhouse only to disappear with her brother. But she died without ever solving the mystery.
But then Lucy, who has heard all the old stories about Oscar, arrives at The Brick, finds an old rowboat with a secret compartment, and begins an adventure that she could never have dreamed of back in Chicago.
What does that ratty old rowboat have to do with Oscar's disappearance? with his wonderful, terrible book of story beginnings? This is a great tale that takes readers straight across the blurry line between imagination and reality, between dreams and life itself. Part fairy tale, party adventure story, and all fun, this book is my new favorite! I loved it!