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!

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