Finding Two Forgotten Fantasies
February 13, 2008 6:24 PM   Subscribe

A familiar kind of question -- anyone know the titles/authors of two fantasy novels I read as a kid in the late 1970s or early 1980s?

Book 1: I remember only one scene: a pair of children in a boat, in an outing that begins as a pleasant row or sail out on a lake, becoming aware of some unspeakable (and I think magical) menace growing around them, or possibly back at home.

They may have been royalty or nobility of some kind. I believe they were brother and sister, and may even have lived in a castle?. I’ve searched in vain for this scene in all manner of young adult/kids fantasy novels, but haven’t located it. It’s possible that I’ve misremember some of the details or conflated bits of more than one book. I remember finding the scene itself memorably chilling for some reason.

Book 2: Group of kids plant a pear(?) seed and a the resulting magical tree that grows becomes a kind of fantastic playhouse. Not a picture book, but a short novel.

Anyone? Anyone?
posted by BT to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
Book 2: James and the Giant peach?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:48 PM on February 13, 2008

Book 1 could possibly be Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper?
posted by Daily Alice at 6:49 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

For book 1, could you be thinking of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of C.S. Lewis's books in the Chronicles of Narnia series? I haven't read it in years and years, but it's got kids on a boat, royalty, fantasy, etc.
posted by vytae at 7:20 PM on February 13, 2008

Something by Edward Eager, maybe?
posted by posadnitsa at 7:41 PM on February 13, 2008

Also reminds me of some elements of The Magician's Nephew, another one of the Narnia Chronicles in which two children plant a magic apple seed which becomes the tree from which the magic wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is made. Are you maybe combining several of the Narnia Chronicles into one memory?
posted by tamitang at 8:06 PM on February 13, 2008

p.s. The children in LWW lived in a castle.
posted by tamitang at 8:07 PM on February 13, 2008

I feel like there are a lot of books that could match No. 2. The Magic Faraway Tree matches most of your description. (I don't think they plant the tree..)
posted by theiconoclast31 at 9:47 PM on February 13, 2008

#1 - Quest for a Maid? Sir Patrick Spens's preteen son and his teenage betrothed are in the shipwreck from the ballad, which is caused by malicious magic; they are the only survivors to make it to land.
posted by nonane at 4:58 AM on February 14, 2008

The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin has the child wizard Ged on a sailboat, but he's solo for most of his sea trips.
posted by callista at 7:58 AM on February 14, 2008

2nding callista's guess of the Earthsea Wizard by Le Guen- immediately sprang to my mind when I read your description.
posted by Gratishades at 9:02 AM on February 14, 2008

I'm more than passing familiar with Narnia/Earthsea/Dark Is Rising (and have read all as an adult as well)-- I'm pretty sure that the scenes I remember come from none of these books. And I wondered at one point about whether I'd dimly remembered a scene from Half Magic, but spot-checking hasn't turned up either of these storylines

The Magic Faraway Tree is an interesting suggestion, theiconoclast31, but the book I was thinking of had a more contemporary setting. But now I'm intrigued, and will have to check it out.

I'm now beginning to suspect that my memory is so thoroughly confused that I've mixed up too many details to accurately describe what I apologies.

Thanks to all for trying to help!
posted by BT at 12:51 PM on February 14, 2008

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