Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Gem of a Novel Containing Many Deep Lessons - "The Grotto Under The Tree" by John A. Theo, Jr.

John A. Theo, Jr. has written a wonderful young adult novel that reminded me at several levels of some of C.S. Lewis' works.  Think of "The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe" with a touch of "Prince Caspian."  As I read this book, "The Grotto Under The Tree," I kept thinking to myself: "I can't wait to bring this book with me to London and read it to my grandchildren!"

Sebastian and Sara are best friends.  As they visit the remains of a favorite tree that had been struck by lighting, they are magically transported to an underground world where elves, mermaids, gnomes and other mystical creatures battle with forces of evil called the Kylo.  While the world that Sebastian and Sara visit is very different from the one they knew above ground, it is described beautifully and clearly in Mr. Theo's very elegant style of writing.

Sebastian is book smart, but physically clumsy.  Sarah is gifted athletically.  As the story progresses, these characteristics are amplified, and each one learns to use their strength to help their new underground friends fight off a devastating attack from the Kylo.

There are many moral lessons contained within this allegory - without it feeling preachy or didactic.  During a climactic battle, the children learn deep lessons of sacrifice, the meaning of true love and the need for forgiveness. The Elf Lord Capri is a spirit guide through this magical world that leads Sebastian and Sara all the way to the Arctic Circle.

I loved this little gem of a book.



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