“The Golden Key” by George MacDonald

Illustrated by: Maurice Sendak

Recommended to me by: rushthatspeaks

In the afterword, written December 1966, W. H. Auden says, “To me, George MacDonald’s most extraordinary, and precious, gift is his ability, in all his stories, to create an atmosphere of goodness about which there is nothing phony or moralistic.”

My experience of this brief […]

“The Red Tree” by Shaun Tan

Recommended to me by: Mely’s evocative review

A nearly wordless picture book filled with intricate oil and acrylic paintings showing a small, lonely girl’s inner world. A red leaf lies somewhere on each page. Searching for it led me deeper into the paintings’ quirky details.

To Mely, it’s about depression. To one child, it […]

“The Girl with the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts

Recommended to me by: an adult who loved it as a child

This book was published in 1980, back when I was in its target age group of pre-teen kids. I don’t know what I would have thought of it then, but it didn’t go over well in 2010.

Katie, age 9, has silver […]

“Gone-Away Lake” by Elizabeth Enright

Recommended to me by: Marissa Lingen

The title sounded familiar and I thought I read it as a child, but the story itself didn’t ring any bells. Published in 1957, the book features two half-grown kids interacting with two elderly people living in abandoned summer homes, surrounded by lots of nature and lots of […]

“Moominland Midwinter” by Tove Jansson

Recommended to me by: childhood memories

After reading Finn Family Moomintroll recently, I was inspired to seek out Moominland Midwinter, which I also vaguely remembered from childhood.

It’s a quick read, and contrasts quite a bit with the earlier book. The mood is bleaker, as befits a northern winter, and the relationships between characters […]

“Finn Family Moomintroll” by Tove Jansson

Recommended to me by: Ursula Le Guin, while reviewing “The True Deceiver”

I stumbled across Finn Family Moomintroll in my elementary school’s library as a child, and didn’t really know what to make of it, but loved the image of the snow falling, and the creatures curling up safely for the winter.

Re-reading it […]

“Fox” by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks

Recommended to me by: Susan Reagel

With its full-page drawings, brief text, and animal characters in the Australian wilderness, “Fox” is in a children’s book format, but it is an adult book in disguise. How many children’s books begin with despair over loss and disability, move through partnership and betrayal, and end with the […]