Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell:
Sometimes, I choose a book because I've heard a lot of buzz about it, or it was recommended to me, or I find it while researching another book. Or maybe it's a classic that I've always meant to read. But then there are times when prominent shelf placement at the library and a cute cover are all it takes to nab my interest. Such is the case with Falling In.
As the Bachsters and I started reading the book, you can't help but "fall in" to the story, just as the protagonist, Isabelle, falls into an alternate world. One minute she's helping a classmate who has injured her arm, the next minute, she finds herself in an unfamiliar basement, in a world without electricity, but one that has a witch. And during different times of the year, the children from 5 neighboring villages go camp in the woods, believing that this will keep them safe from the child-eating witch.
Isabelle is quickly ejected from the initial unfamiliar basement, and sent to one of these camps in the woods. But on her way to camp, she decides that it might be more fun to actually meet the witch, so she heads in the opposite direction. Along the way, she makes a new friend and discovers things about the witch that will change the lives of the villagers - and her own - for the better.
This story unfolds in a nice way, and gives the reader the "reader-tingles" when a new element is added to the layers. Grown ups will see some of the plot direction ahead of time, but some of the story was a surprise to me. I think this book has the intention of older readers reading it to themselves, but it also made a nice read-aloud with the Bachsters. And a couple of telling signs that the book was a success: our oldest took it to her room several times after we finished, so that she could read ahead - and, I was also caught reading ahead! So, it's a grown-up-and-kid-pleaser.
After recently finishing the How to Train Your Dragon series, I was hoping to find a book with a little less violence. Falling In does have some violence, but certainly not as much as the Hiccup books. I'm starting to wonder if there are any books for kids that don't have any violence in them? Well, I know they are out there & we've read some, but it seems like most of them do contain some violence.
So, next time you're at the library, check out Falling In. And take a look around the shelves for other books that catch your attention. You might find yourself unexpectedly "falling in" to a good book you never even knew about.