Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.
That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.
Unbelievably this is not a book I remember reading, I vaguely recall one of my children watching a movie version and yet I feel I knew exactly what to expect.
Some of the elements of this are not going to mean much to younger readers now. I can’t imagine many who’ve experienced the freedom of playing outside for hours without a parent hovering over them. There are probably few who’d be happy with the idea of creating their own world.
In spite of these issues, this is a lovely story about dealing with children on the cusp of growing up and coming to terms with loss and friendship.
It’s brief which does mean some of the nuances that could flesh out the characters were missing, but it’s still one of those stories that will make you smile to remember childhood friendships and to relish the power of the imagination.