- Grades: 6–8
About this book
Let the magical cherry-wood box lead you into LightLand, a world ruled by fear, where nothing is quite as it should be, and two sixth graders are the best hope for the future.
When they were five, they decided they didn’t want to go to kindergarten, and they didn’t. But a year later, when it was time for them to go to first grade, they didn’t have a choice. So they did it their own way. Lottie wore her pajamas and slippers, refusing to wear the pretty dress her father had gotten for her. Lewis didn’t talk. At first it meant that the other kids laughed at them, but it’s no fun to tease someone who just doesn’t care. By the time they got to sixth grade, when they were eleven years old, pajamas and silence were old news. The sixth grade teacher, however, was very new news.
But that decision made their world shift in ways they’d never expected. It was all because of the magical Story Box that Lottie’s father had made for her six years before, a box to store her stories, her memories, so she’d have room in her brain for all the facts she had to learn in school. But he’d made it from her favorite cherry tree that grew by the back door. It had been hit by lightning, and couldn’t have survived, he told Lottie. But she was angry, and didn’t believe him, and didn’t want the box, and tossed it away. Six years later, her father found it and gave it back to her, and the box led her into LightLand, a strange, fanciful world that was like Iowa, but not quite, a world ruled by the NightKing, who steals people’s memories from them, so they forget their past, and eventually, forget themselves, and disappear forever. The people of LightLand cower in underground caves from sunset to sunrise, for that is when the NightKing prowls the land, looking for memories to steal. They know nothing of the beauty of the night, the twinkling stars, flashing lightning bugs, swooping owls, and much, much more. They emerge only when the sun is bright, and the powers of the NightKing are weakest. And they want Lottie to help them fight the NightKing, and regain their memories. “It is time,” Umber the crow tells Lottie. “I saw the cherry tree and I knew it was time for you to come.”
What is LightLand, and why is Lewis’s father the NightKing? What memories and secrets will Lottie and Lewis have to remember, have to puzzle out and understand, in order to end the NightKing’s reign, and free the people of LightLand? What do they need to know and how will they know when they know it? Follow Umber through the cherry box and into another world. And remember what he tells you to do: “Don’t try too hard. Trying won’t work. Just do it.”