Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2013
Growing up on a island in the Bahamas is magical for 2 brothers. At 12 years old, Trey looks out for his brother because at 7 years old Lou is different: he doesn’t speak, he has a special affinity for all of nature, and has seizures. Together they explore the beaches and inlets of their island. One day when they are in Long Pond Cay, a special place where few humans ever go they are magically transported to another place called Pangaia. In this alternative world humankind has paved over virtually all of nature and filled it with streets, buildings and pollution so thick that even the stars can’t be seen at night. Through their journey back and forth between worlds Trey and Lou find they, and especially Lou, are instrumental in saving both Pangaia, and their own island from over development and ecological disaster.
At first I thought this was going to be another dystopian novel but it isn’t. It is, however, a cautionary tale for the over development of our natural world and a reminder that in order for Earth to remain healthy and viable for future generations, we have to protect her now. Susan Cooper is one of our favorite authors (we recently reviewed her novel, Victory); her descriptive prowess is amazing as is her storytelling. The transitions between the two worlds are fluid and magical, the danger in both feels real as does the sorrow and joy. I was actually scared for the boys on a couple of occasions. Even though the main characters in this middle-grade book are boys, readers of all ages and genders will enjoy it. We highly recommend it!
Rating: 5 out of 5 paws.