Sunday, February 13, 2011

Over Sea, Under Stone

Cooper, S. (1965). Over Sea, Under Stone. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace & Company.

Plot Description:
Barney, Simon, and Jane Drew are on vacation with their parents to visit their Great-Uncle Merry in Trewissick, a harbor village in Cornwall, England. In a game of exploration the Drew children uncover what appears to be an ancient map in the house their family is renting. As their rented house is burglarized, apparently in search of a map, it quickly becomes clear to the children that they are not the only ones in Trewissick aware of their discovery. They disclose the finding of the map to their Great-Uncle who lets them in on its history, dating back to King Arthur and dealing with the battle of good versus evil. They also realize that if they are able to decode the map, it will lead them to find the holy grail. Unfortunately, the evil forces within the village realize the children have the map and will stop at nothing to take it from them and find the grail themselves.

This is a great tale of good versus evil. Although it can be somewhat slow at times, the book can also be quite thrilling in parts. It is exciting to see the Drew children decipher the ancient map and stay one step ahead of the evil villagers after the grail. Susan Cooper uses vocabulary above what might be expected in a tween book, which encourages the reader to contextually determine the definition of these words. The natural curiosity of the Drew children along with the prompting of their Great-Uncle helps to lead the reader along with them on their adventure. The book becomes pretty scary in parts with the evil characters stopping at nothing to intercept the children in the search for the grail.

Mystery, Adventure, Fantasy

Reading Level:
Ages 9 - 12

Similar Books:

Good versus Evil


Character Names/Descriptions:
Jane Drew: Jane is the middle Drew child.

Barney Drew: Barney is the youngest Drew child.

Simon Drew: Simon is the oldest Drew child.

Merriman Lyon (Great-Uncle Merry, Gumerry, Professor): Merry is the Great-Uncle of the Drew children, but not by blood, he was a friend of their grandfather. He is a professor. He is an elusive character, always disappearing and no one really knows very much about him.

Series Information:
This is the first book in Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series. This series consists of five books, one of which won a Newbery medal and one which received a Newbery honor.

On vacation to a seaside village in Cornwall, England, Jane, Simon, and Barney Drew discover an ancient map dated to the time of King Arthur, which will lead them to find the holy grail. Along with their Great-Uncle, the children must quickly find the grail before the evil forces of the town beat them to it.

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