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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
The Samurai's Wife
Laura Joh Rowland
The Wretched Stone - Chris Van Allsburg 3.5 stars. I do love a good adventure-at-sea tale, and The Wretched Stone had that great salty feeling. I loved that the story was told in the form of a ship's log, and I loved that the language, while still being accessible to kids of today, set the story firmly in the heyday of full masted sailing ships. I liked the sense of vague menace and mystery, and as soon as the kids were made aware of what had befallen the crew they were dialed in to this story. The pictures were fantastic, too.

What didn't work for me was the lack of explanation as to what made the stone in this book so powerful. It was a great and terrible object, but we don't know what was making it so. Still, it all worked out in the end, and the kids and I liked this. They got their slightly humorous/slightly freaky story, and I got my sea tale. We're all happy.