cover image The Cabin Key

The Cabin Key

Gloria Rand. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-213884-4

In chatty, conversational prose, a girl describes her family's enjoyment of their cabin in the woods. Gloria Rand (who previously collaborated with her husband, Ted Rand, on Prince William) achieves a hushed immediacy with a first-person, present-tense narration. The youngster leads readers on a tour of the house and its surroundings as she performs her chores. She stops to recount family stories, occasionally interrupting herself to continue with the task at hand. ``I hope a bear doesn't come out of hibernation early and surprise me! I better get back to the cabin.'' The lengthy text is laden with old-fashioned homey details-a hand-cranked phonograph, an icebox, stories before the fire. Ted Rand also conveys a sense of bygone days in his crayon and acrylic artwork-kerosene lamps cast a cozy glow over homemade quilts and rough-hewn beams. At times, the nostalgia factor is somewhat forced; however, the book succeeds in creating a sense of place. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)