Greta is a young girl who has always been enchanted with the heavy fog that shrouds the Nova Scotian fishing community where she lives. Even as a baby, Greta delighted in the fog that would fall around the house. To the worry of her mother, Greta seemed to even then yearn to be in the midst of the fog.
“From the time she was a baby in her cradle, Greta had love the fog.”
As time passes, Greta’s dad seems to understand the draw the fog has upon her. Permission is granted, that once her work is done, Greta may spend time out in the fog. What seems a simple, but perhaps odd, pleasure becomes the means of her stepping back in time.
Blue Cove is a former fishing village near Greta’s. Where homes once stood, there are now only cellar holes. But in the fog, Greta sees the outline of a house. One day while walking in the fog, Greta meets a lady in a wagon who offers her a ride to Blue Cove. As Greta walked through the fog she had stepped into a time gone by.
“Most of us live in two worlds – our real world and the one we build or spin for ourselves out of the books we read, the heroes we admire, the things we hope to do. Greta’s other world was Blue Cove.”
In Blue Cove, Greta becomes friends with Retha, a young girl like Greta. On foggy days when Greta can travel back to Blue Cove she spends time with Retha’s family and learns of the community and the people. She, in a way, becomes a part of them.
There are concerns or cautions for Greta. She must not get hurt in Blue Cove because there is no way to get her family to her. And Greta must return home each time she visits before the fog lifts. The timeslip only works in the midst of the heavy fog.
“Don’t you want to be twelve?” she asked.
“I don’t know, ” Greta said honestly. “I always think of my birthdays as a flight of stairs, ” she went on a little shyly. “Up to twelve it’s been fun to look up. But after twelve – the stairs turn. I can’t see around the bend.”
“I know, ” Mrs. Morrill said. “Not now, you can’t. But when you get to that twelfth step you will be able to see ‘around the bend’ as you put it. Seeing ahead, or looking ahead – is something we do with our hearts – it takes nothing but time and courage. The one is given to us; the other we must provide.”
Fog Magic is not a story of danger or adventure. There is no cliffhanger or heart-stopping climax. The beauty of this story is in its simplicity. This is a story of family and community. A story that shows us how life goes on even with the passing of time. There is delight and happiness found in the common and everyday. It is those common and everyday things that bring us together.
And, as Greta learns, there is a time to let go of those things we hold dear in childhood. In order to grow up, we sometimes must let go. Once Greta turns twelve she can no longer return to Blue Cove; she can no longer travel back . She must grow up and move ahead.
“On your twelfth birthday, Greta, you grow up, and you put away childish things. Sometimes you’ll wish you hadn’t because you put behind you so many things – happy and unhappy. But the next twelve years can be happier still, my girl, and the twelve after that. And try to remember this – none of the things you think you’ve lost on the way are really lost. Every one of them is folded around you – close.”
As I was selecting my reads for the Newbery Through the Decades: 1940s challenge, I found that many of the winners were books familiar to me. So many had been read alouds over the years. Once again, I chose an Honor Book: Fog Magic. It is a lovely story and I enjoyed it very much. Life isn’t always action and adventure and drama. I think it is a good thing for our children to see the beauty in the every day. To understand that as time passes, so many things about life are constant. Fog Magic did a wonderful job at presenting this.
Fog Magic would also work well as an introduction into fantasy literature or used as a historical fiction read. For those overwhelmed by large books, with only 107 pages this book would work well.
I will be passing this along to a couple of my girls. My nine year old and eleven year old girls will most likely enjoy this read. Now on to my next read…