Sometimes I like to read children's books. I'm currently plowing through The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, and I read The Minnow on the Say by Philippa Pearce as something to fall back on when I wanted to rest my brain.
This is a British children's book, written in the 1950s. David Moss lives with his family by the river Say, and one day he discovers an escaped canoe, bumping against his landing stage. Once he finds Adam, the canoe's owner, the adventure begins. Adam has the clue to a treasure, hidden by an ancestor four hundred years ago. Adam's parents are dead. He lives with his aunt and his demented grandfather. They are poor and unless he finds the treasure by the end of the summer holidays, he will be sent to live with cousins in Birmingham because his aunt can no longer afford to care for him. There is another reason to hurry and find the treasure, because someone else is looking for it too.
The clue is a cryptic riddle and as David and Adam get closer to deciphering it, they find themselves further from the treasure than ever. Meanwhile, their rival gets an unexpected advantage that makes the situation even more desperate for Adam. Philippa Pearce is a masterful storyteller and I was rigid with suspense toward the end of the novel.
This book would be a great choice for read-aloud, if you have a child you're currently reading to, or just read it yourself for the entertainment.