Tonight, after I returned home from a long day, with a still-sore foot from my fall yesterday that left me hobbling all day, I was frustrated by a minor personal irritation, so instead of ruminating over it I looked for something to just get my mind off of it. I had on my table great works of philosophy and inspiration. But I bypassed them and settled down for the next hour with the great classic The Bobbsey Twins On A Houseboat, by Laura Lee Hope (reprinted 2004, Grosset & Dunlap). (One of my twelve-year-old students had left it on the table after his last lesson.)
Plot synopsis: The Bobbsey siblings, two sets of twins--twelve-year-olds Bert and Nan and six-year-olds Freddie and Flossie--find a houseboat for sale on the lake near their home. They try to convince their father to buy it, which he promptly does in the next chapter. Soon, along with cousins, parents, a politically incorrectly-characterised cook (first edition: 1955) and the dog and cat, they are on their way down the river on a houseboat vacation. Along the way, they put out fires and escape storms and drowning. Snap the dog rescues Snoop the cat when he falls overboard. Tall, red-bearded Capton McGinton scolds Harry mildly for disobeying orders and swimming alone, then promptly gives all the children candy bars. I got as far as Dorothy saving the lifeboat singlehandedly, when I finally gave up on it.
Rating: one to five stars, depending which side of 12 years old you are on.