Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Magic Tunnel by Caroline D. Emerson

I ordered this book through my Elementary School’s Scholastic Book Club in 1965. I recall vividly studying the copyright page. Originally published in 1940, I wondered then as I do now what ever happened to Caroline D. Emerson? This is a time travel story and I read it about the same time as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. The Magic Tunnel is an easy book to read and I was captivated by peg-legged Peter Stuyvesant. The plot is simple enough: Sarah and John take a subway ride and suddenly find themselves transported to 1664 when New York was New Amsterdam. Books like this for young readers offered a dash of history and a dash of suspense. With illustrations by Jerry Robinson, I also wonder why Scholastic Books doesn’t keep great titles like this in print. Sarah and John’s effort to return to their own time is mingled expertly with a capsule history lesson as Peter Stuyvesant makes a crucial decision when the English take New Amsterdam from the Dutch. The history isn’t forced down your throat and the story mixes fact and fiction for an enjoyable read. A favorite from my childhood, The Magic Tunnel still retains its power to captivate and entertain.

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