Award winner-Newbery Honor Book
Portia and her brother Foster spend the summer with their aunt, uncle and cousin Julian in the country. On the their first day together, Portia and Julian discover a seemingly abandoned row of homes along a swamp. Two homes, however, appear maintained. Soon the two cousins befriend a brother and sister who still reside along the swamp in separate homes. Mrs. Cheever (the sister) and Mr. Payton (the brother) regale the cousins with stories of their childhood when the swamp was a lake and the resort community homes burst with laughter and chatter from children and their families.
The siblings graciously allow the cousins to fix up an attic in an abandoned home for a club house. They keep their outings to Gone-Away Lake a secret until a near death occurs.
A wonderful gentle book that celebrates summer, the outdoors and God's creation. I loved the description of animals, insects, the woods, the swamp and various plants/flowers.
-Borrowed from the library.
Guided Reading Level: V (5th/6th grade)
Points to discuss: The words "heck" and "darn" are used throughout the book. Chewing tobacco is mentioned a couple of times. DDT is also referenced (most kids might not know what it is). Portia and Julian keep their outings and friendship with Mrs. Cheever and Mr. Payton a secret from adults-deception. Mrs. Cheever shares a story of an adult from her childhood who would raise kittens for the summer and then in September have them chloroformed! Mrs. Cheever and her friend do rescue the kittens summers thereafter.