Friday, July 29, 2011

The Jewel of the Sea Cruise by Susan Koman

Recommendation: Recommended

This is one of the Magic Attic Club Series, where a group of friends enjoys various adventures by visiting neighbor Ellie Goodwin’s attic. There, a steamer trunk filled with a variety of outfits from different eras and locations awaits them. They have only to choose an outfit, put it on, and look into the full-length mirror in order to find themselves in another time and place. Each experience helps the girls (collectively or individually) to approach whatever real-life situation they are facing with a fresh perspective.

Megan, Heather, Keisha, Alison, and Rose find themselves on a luxurious cruise liner in the company of their private academy peers close to Jamaica. There are some very friendly girls whom they enjoy, but there is also one who is especially unfriendly and rude. They find out that although Ashley is privileged with royalty, she is lonely and forgotten. The Magic Attic Club plans a surprise birthday party for Ashley, changing the girl’s attitude and giving her the love and acceptance that she craves.

Positives: The way the girls reach out to Ashley despite her unsavory behavior shows forgiveness and compassion.  They work together and get others involved in planning the party, and are truly excited for Ashley to receive a special celebration in her honor. This unselfish act serves as an example of putting another person before oneself.

Negatives: There is no context of God as a guiding factor.

Talking points: There are many opportunities to discuss appropriate ways of interacting with friends (I pointed out an instance of gossip to my daughter while reading the book with her). As mentioned above, the selfless principle of putting someone else’s needs above one’s own (Phil 2:3-4) is clearly shown. There are also times that one of the girls has concern over Ashley’s unkind words to another student, displaying compassion. This can be discussed in regards to loving one another.

Although these books are not Christian in nature, the characters generally make good decisions that are compassionate and kind. The various experiences in this series are fun and adventurous. My daughter has very much enjoyed them and looks forward to starting the next book as soon as one is completed.

Age Level: 7 and up

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