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DRIFT HOUSE by Dale Peck


The First Voyage

by Dale Peck

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-58234-969-X
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Three children join an ineffectual uncle in a Quebec house that turns out to be a ship capable of sailing across the bathtub-like Sea of Time in this long and self-conscious crossover novel. Leaning heavily on characters with either conveniently patchy memories or more knowledge than they logically should have, Peck pits 12-year-old Susan, her geeky little brother Charles and Murray (who’s five at the start but after a solo trip into the future comes back an old man magically disguised as a child) against the last of the powerful, petulant mermaids—whose Queen is set on closing the Great Drain that impels all life, death and change. Readers who don’t mind talking animals, imbedded literary references (“curiouser and curiouser,” a winged “butterfrog” comments at one point) or words like “virago” in their fantasy, may be willing to embark with this doughty crew—but as Charles comments with tiresome frequency on his sister’s fondness for British vocabulary, “it’s affected.” Note broad hints of sequels to come. (Fantasy. 11-13)