Friday, January 25, 2013
The Right Book! (That Wasn't)
This time, I was sure I had it. Thanks to the excellent book-sleuthing skills of Louise and Sue, librarians at the children's collection at the NYPL's main branch, British author Helen Cresswell's Moondial was delivered into my waiting hands for on-site viewing. In the brief minutes I could spend that day in the reading room, I sped through the first 44 pages.
All sorts of familiar details sprang out at me: the "icy gusts" that Minty, the protagonist, experiences as she nears the sun/moondial; the garden "waiting for her;" the boy from another time clad in his rough jacket and woolen trousers. Never mind that I didn't remember Minty's mother having a car accident, or anyone owning a microwave oven. I went right home and ordered an old copy of the book for 1 cent, certain that the rest of the details I'd been reading fast to find would emerge beginning on page 45.
Well, they didn't. The back-and-forth between eras that Minty experiences at the moondial is too swift and easy (in the book I remember, the protagonist has to unlock the mystery of the sundial in order to figure out how to use it for time travel). There is none of the riddle-solving or potion-making that stuck so fast in my memory. And that microwave...well, that was a big clue, if only because it prompted me to look at the publication date. Which was 1987. The year I was a sophomore in college and so, needless to say, an unlikely year for me to have been reading a middle grade mystery novel.
And so the search continues! Thanks to all who've been helping in the quest and please keep writing in with your suggestions!
Posted by Lela Nargi at 12:51 PM