What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbara Mariconda's The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons includes adventure on land and the high seas, magic, diabolical villains, and a pure-hearted young heroine. Early in the novel, the main character is involved in a sailing accident in which her parents apparently drown. The book also includes a child-beater who's also a drunkard. Though readers don't "see" him hit the children or drink, they do see him threaten violence and endanger others. There are several dramatic, dangerous situations involving the potential injury or drowning of children.
What's the story?
Lucy P. Simmons is the sea-loving daughter of a sailing captain and his loving wife. But when a family outing early in the novel quickly turns dangerous because of bad weather and a drunken "Brute," Lucy becomes the only survivor of an accident that apparently claims her parents' lives. Mr. Simmons' will stipulates that Lucy's Aunt Prudence have custody of Lucy and the family estate, but by the time Lucy wakes up after the accident, it has already been determined that Prudence can't be reached, so Lucy's other aunt and uncle, Margaret and Victor, will care for her. Victor is a cruel villain who wants Lucy out of the way so he can profit from his late brother's property, and Lucy -- with the help of some friends and magic that seems to protect her house by the sea -- must find a way to rescue herself and her parents' legacy.
Is it any good?
THE VOYAGE OF LUCY P. SIMMONS has a lot to recommend it: adventure, a brave young heroine, and a magical house by the sea. The plot takes some twists and turns that will be exciting (and possibly scary) to kids. And, although a "happy ending" seems a foregone conclusion in a book of this type for this age group, there definitely are some surprises.
But some of the thrilling scenes -- the carriage chase, a powerful storm -- are described in confusing detail and can be difficult to follow. It also seems a bit easy for magic to intervene when all seems lost.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why Lucy's father feels he must try to save "the Brute." What does Lucy learn about herself when she faces a similar dilemma?
What makes Lucy a special heroine? What other books you've read or movies you've seen have brave female main characters?
What do you think causes the magic in the book to happen?