Author: Alexander Key
Illustrator: Leon B. Wisdom, Jr.
From the time they were left as orphans with Mrs. Malone, Tony and Tia have been aware of how different they are; from their appearance to their strange abilities, they are distinctly unlike anyone else around. And while Mrs. Malone seemed to get around their oddness (by simply ignoring it, mostly), the people at the group home they are sent to after their guardian’s death don’t adapt particularly well to things outside their ken . . . which naturally leads to bullying. And just when the two siblings are feeling too miserable to bear, a man shows up claiming to be their long-lost uncle. Too good to be true?
Escape to Witch Mountain is a charming, thrilling story in an old-fashioned sort of way. Tony, Tia, and Father O’Day (a kindly priest who helps the beleaguered siblings) are all wonderful characters–and just plain nice, decent people of a sort that you honestly don’t see much of in books today. The story is simple enough, but suspenseful and gracefully written. As I said before, there’s an old-fashioned (sixties/seventies) feel to the story, from the use of terms like “far out” to the whole perspective on aliens to an ephemeral something that I can’t even place but that pervades the story with the feel of a nostalgic era. On a more personal note, the Blue Ridge Mountain setting is particularly charming; I have a deep love for that area myself and truly appreciate that it’s beauty is admired here. Escape to Witch Mountain is definitely recommended, especially for those who like older sci-fi/suspense–plus it’s actually clean and decent for kids to read!