oh, Edward Eager, you really seem like a swell guy. a family man but not one of those mawkish mewling types who always seem to be about to burst into tears when they talk about their fam. you get
kids and you don't bring a lot of sentimentality to the table either; you capture the cheerfulness & the mood swings & the sweetness & a little bit of the sour as well. you root your adventures in prosaic reality but you manage to make prosaic reality not bad, not bad at all, its own sort of adventure.
written in 1957 but set several decades earlier, this fun little trifle is Eager all over. 4 siblings spend a summer at a lake, A MAGIC LAKE, the magic courtesy of a grouchy magic turtle. they get various wishes and go on various adventures including seeing pirates, cannibals, Antarctica, and what it's like to be a few years older and going on a date with a couple pretentious twits. the bloodthirsty youngest girl was my predictable favorite of the four, but I also wouldn't mind having fearless and slightly condescending oldest-sister Jane as a child either. well, all four of them are actually pretty peachy. they spend the last adventure trying to figure out how to help their stepdad's ailing business, and that's just adorable.
favorite part was when they stumble across another group of kids on their own magical adventure with their own magical rules that must be followed. surreal and surprising and kinda awesome.
loved one of the last lines, it really spoke to me:
"You mean it's really over?" said Katherine. "I don't believe it. It wouldn't all end like this. What would be the point? Why, we didn't learn a moral lesson, or anything!"
well isn't that just the truth, kids. welcome to the world!