Rereading: HOUSEBOAT SUMMER by Elizabeth Coatsworth

Cover and illustrations by Marguerite Davis

Another summery reread from my library. Bill and his sister Sandy have been sent off for the summer to stay with their Uncle Jim and Aunt Em in Maine while their mother and grandmother redecorate their Philadelphia house. Bill is quiet and uncertain how they will be received, while Sandy is happy and outgoing and sure they’ll have fun. When they arrive by train, they are warmly greeted by their late father’s brother Jim and his wife, and bundled into a car for a long drive to an unknown destination. They arrive at a remote farmhouse on a large lake, and then Bill and Sandy find out where they’ll be spending the summer: on a houseboat in the lake! They’re surprised and delighted. Their aunt and uncle have rented the houseboat for the summer from the farmer, who supplies food and water, but the four vacationers are otherwise on their own. Bill and Sandy soon begin exploring the wooded hills around them as well as the farm and fields. They have adventures, encounter all kinds of wildlife, and have scary moments, as when their canoe is swamped by a storm in the lake. Through it all, Bill’s confidence grows, and Sandy makes new friends.

A fun adventure, published at a time when the U.S. was at war, and perhaps meant to provide an escape from all that for young readers. The book is beautifully illustrated in line drawings reproduced in blue-green ink very effectively. Recommended if you can find it.

Houseboat Summer by Elizabeth Coatsworth

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