A wizard is carved from the stump of a dead oak tree by a chain saw artist from Bat Cave. Most people think the Wizard is just a wood carving, but Rachel knows better. Rachel is a young athletic girl who loves to swim and whose family spends each summer at magical Lake Lure. Rachel is summoned by the Wizard to serve as his hands and feet to do his work of helping wild creatures in trouble, however she must not tell anyone that the Wizard is real and knows all things. At the Wizard’s bidding, she convinces her dad to persuade the town fathers to stop lowering the lake in the wintertime, thus preserving the fish habitat along the shoreline and increasing the fish population. She is then sent by the Wizard, along with her unsuspecting sister Kim, to save a young deer named Myra from drowning while trying to swim across the lake in search of her mother, Anna Lee.
The Wizard is eventually set free by a bolt of lightning to move about and do his own good work. Rachel never sees the Wizard again, but is keenly aware of his presence when, a few years later, she becomes the youngest girl ever to win a gold medal in the Olympic 800 meter freestyle swimming competition.
Thirty-two pages with twenty beautiful watercolor illustrations by Carole Lang. The principal life-lesson for younsters expressed in this story is that they, like Rachel, can accomplish anything they put their mind to.
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Five Oaks Press
Lake Lure Chronicles
EXCERPT FROM BOOK
Lake Lure is a magical lake nestled peacefully in the deep groove of Hickory Nut Gorge, a little east of the Blue Ridge. The lake casts a spell over all those who visit there. Time slows down. Colors are brighter, sounds are more soothing, and food tastes better at the lake. Rachel’s family has been coming to the lake each summer for many years – ever since Rachel was a toddler, not yet able to walk. Nowadays, Rachel can not only walk, but also run very fast, jump very high, and swim very far. Although still quite young, she can swim better than her older sister, Kimberly. She can swim better than most adults. She dog paddles when she feels lazy. She does the backstroke when she wants to look at the sky, and she does a fast Australian crawl when she wants to cover long distances.
She likes to swim up and down the shoreline from the cottage where she and her family spend the summers. On her swims, she likes to observe the other cottages and boat houses tucked into the bays and inlets along the shore. She wonders who lives in the houses and if any kids live there who love the lake and love to swim as much as she does.
One day she swam farther east from her cottage than she ever had before. She didn’t know why, but she kept feeling drawn further and further down the shoreline towards the morning sun. She swam and swam and swam.
Eventually, as she was passing by a little khaki colored boathouse that she had never seen before, she noticed something strange standing high up on the steep bank near the little cabin that belonged to the khaki boathouse. She stopped and treaded water and strained her eyes to see if they were playing tricks on her, or if she actually saw what she thought she saw – a wizard. She swam a little closer and crawled out of the water onto the swim platform beside the boathouse. Sure enough it looked like a wizard, the kind she had read about in some of her fantasy books. He was about the size of a tall man. He stood straight as an arrow, staring due east as motionless as a heron before it is scared into flight. Against all her training, she climbed onto the dock and made her way slowly up the stone steps towards the unmoving figure. She knew she was trespassing and could get in trouble, but she couldn’t help herself. She was drawn irresistibly, like a magnet, towards the motionless figure.
As she drew close, she could see that the figure was not a real wizard at all, but merely a wood carving of a wizard -- a good and lifelike carving to be sure, but just a carving nonetheless. She walked slowly around the carving, admiring the detail of his beard, his flowing robes, his pointed wizard’s hat that cocked over at the top, and his kindly, but penetrating, eyes. To the statue she said, “well, you’re a pretty good wood carving, but you’re no wizard. I was kind of scared and excited there for a minute, thinking you might be real.” Then she turned to go. She had taken about three steps when she heard something that froze her in her tracks and made the fine hairs on her arms and neck stand up. A deep woodsy voice behind her had said, “Rachel, come back.”