One of the best things about homeschooling is the time to read. So often I wish I could fully educate my kids by just reading great books to them. They can't learn geometry that way, unfortunately (should I have said "alas?") There are few things better than having a good "pleasure book" going.
Journey to the River Sea was our most recent readaloud. We read it so fast I never updated our "current reading" in my sidebar. (I don't know why I even set stuff like that up; I rarely remember to update it.) What a fantastic book. The story sounds quite cliche: set at the end of the Victorian era, a sweet and intelligent child is orphaned, and though wealthy, is sent with a new governess to some nasty relatives. This time, though, the relatives live in Brazil, on the Amazon. This is an exciting book but of course we were never fearful of a sad ending. My kids couldn't wait to get to it every day. I couldn't either.
There was also a bit of serendipity in the book for us. One of the characters is a child actor in a company bringing Little Lord Fauntleroy to the Amazon. Well, that book by Frances Hodgson Burnett was our last readaloud. Those connections just make the reading all the better. My kids love hearing about a familiar book in another book.
The author, Eva Ibbotson, is best known for her fantasy. Several years ago I had read Which Witch and thought it only so-so. I am not sure why I even picked Journey to the River Sea up from the library. Maybe I had read a review of it. In any case, I'm glad I did.
The book had a very satisfying ending for me, but my kids were not quite happy with it - not because it was bad, they just wanted more. More! They asked about a sequel, but I don't think there is one. Tomorrow I might have them write some further adventures to get the ending they'd like to see.
And that is one of the signs of a good book: one we want to go on and on. OK, two signs: one that inspires us to write something of our own.