The Fledgling (The Hall Family Chronicles Series)

The Fledgling (The Hall Family Chronicles Series)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064401210
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/22/2002
Series: Hall Family Chronicles Series , #4
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 297,939
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jane Langton studied astronomy at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan and did graduate work in art history at the University of Michigan and Radcliffe College. Ms. Langton is the author of a dozen books for young people, including seven other fantasies about the Hall family of Concord, Massachusetts: The Diamond in the Window, The Swing in the Summerhouse, The Astonishing Stereoscope, the Newbery Honor Book The Fledgling, The Fragile Flag, The Time Bike, and The Mysterious Circus. Also well known for her mystery novels for adults, Ms. Langton lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

The Present

The old goose found the present at Walden Pond. The flock had flown all day, and all the night before, and all the day before that, migrating from their summer breeding grounds at Hudson Bay. Tired and hungry, they dropped to the still evening surface of the pond, splashing down in great foaming sprays of water, squawking at the tops of their lungs, a-wark, a-wark! Then, drifting silently like a majestic fleet of ships, they moved in the direction of the southern shore.

All but the old goose. Turning away, he paddled by himself to a sheltered cove on the other side of the pond, heading for a place he remembered from years gone by, a place where acorns were scattered thickly on the ground.

And then he saw the present.

It was bobbing in the shallows, floating in the water, bumping the alder stems, nudged by empty beer cans, brushed by downy pinfeathers that had scudded across the pond.

It was a bright object, moving up and down in the small lapping waves, glowing by itself in the dusky air.

The old goose had never seen anything like it. journeying south, year after year, gazing down at the landscape streaming away below him, he had sometimes seen the Atlantic Ocean alight with glowing sea creatures. But they were not like this.

Carefully the old goose picked the thing up in his beak and carried it ashore. Then, waddling slowly up the steep wooded slope, he found the place he remembered, where ten stone posts stood erect in a shadowy clearing.

The thing was a present.

Something solemn and compelling in the air of the quiet clearing seemed to speak to him, to tell him that. It was a present, and hemust give it to someone.

The old goose shuffled with his webbed feet in the dry leaves beside one of the stone posts, making a hollow place like a nest. Dropping the present into it, he covered the glowing surface with another thick layer of leaves. Then he waddled slowly back to the water, turning the matter over in his mind.

He must give the present to someone. Not just anybody. Oh, no! It was too good for just anybody. He must give it to someone who would understand how precious it was. Someone who would take good care of it. But who? That was the question.

Georgie was reading a book on the landing of the front-hall stairs. The window on the landing was open. She looked up to see the wind tossing the branches of the big tree outside.

If one, leaf touches another leaf, thought Georgie, it doesn't make any noise at all. But when all the leaves touch each other, the tree whispers all over.

Then she saw the big birds in the sky. They were flying over the tree, making a loud noise, a-WARK, a-WARK!

Oh, swans! thought Georgie.

She jumped up and watched the swans fly in a ragged line over the house. They were not white like swans in a book. They were white and gray and black. They were flying so low over the tree Georgie could hear the sound of the air flowing through their feathers. It made a soft noise, sssh, sssh, sssh.

If only I could fly like that, thought Georgie. If only I could do it again.

Because she had done it. She had. She knew she had. She had waked up in the middle of the night. She hadjumped down the stairs in two great floating bounds.

Unless it was only a dream.

Georgie turned around on the landing and looked at the twelve stairs falling steeply to the downstairs hall. Below her the bronze lady stood on the newel-post, gazing as usual out the front door, holding her light fixture in one upraised hand. Her light was turned off. The hall was dark.

Only the white marble head of Henry Thoreau glimmered in the watery gloom. Henry was a statue in the curve of the stairs, a carved bust on a tall stand. Everything else in the front hall was nearly invisible in the murky shade of the downstairs, but through the oval glass of the door Georgie could see a piece of the front yard.

The sun was shining brilliantly on the green grass beyond the porch, and on scraps of long legs and big feet and shorts and skirts and blue jeans. Georgie's mother and Uncle Freddy were teaching a Saturday morning class in the front yard. Teachers and students were sitting in a circle on the grass. It was Uncle Freddy's school. Georgie's mother and Uncle Freddy had a school, right here in the house, and in the front yard and the backyard, and sometimes they even held classes way up in the branches of the apple tree. It was a college, really, with a funny name: The Concord College of Transcendental Knowledge.

This year they were studying a book by Henry Thoreau, who had lived in Concord, Massachusetts, down the road at Walden Pond, a long time ago.

Uncle Freddy liked to pretend Mr. Thoreau wasn't dead. He called him Henry, as if he were an old friend.

Table of Contents

The Present
Wanting Things
The Bush House
Georgie Tries Again
The Expedition
Madeline Prawn
The Kind Interference of Mr. Preek
The Georgie Protection Society
Miss Prawn Beholds a Miracle
Dorothea Brings the Word
At Last
Eddy Keeps his Eyes and Ears Open
Miss Prawn and the Saintly Child
Target Practice
The Cudgel of Friendship
A Present From Georgie
Tiny Springs and Little Wheels
Fledgling No Longer
Ralph Preek Tracks His Prey
Eleanor has A Birthday
Miss Prawn Leans in Again
Mr. Preek Takes Deadly Aim
The Humiliation of Mr. Preek
Aunt Alex Takes No Chances
A Playmate for Georgie
Miss Prawn Keeps her Eyes Peeled
Too Big for Flying
A Fair Exchange
The Cleverness of Georgie
Another Chance for Mr. Preek
The Present Disappears
The Present at Last

Customer Reviews

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Fledgling (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've just turned thirty-three and still love this story. I had a lot in common with the main character Georgie, and grew up with strange but well-meaning step-parents and my own painfully shy personality. I probably read this story over and over as a kid, and have just recently re-discovered it. This story still touches my heart, and it is an easy but still intelligent read if you decide to read it for the first time, or revisit one of your most beloved childhood stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I am past the age which this book is intended for, it was my favorite book as a kid. I could totally relate to the main character, Georgie, and even dreamed of riding a goose someday. Ever since reading this book, when I hear the Canadian geese fly over my house every year, I think of this story. Even though I have gotten rid of my 'kid' books, I still keep this one, to remind me of the spirit in everyone.
SirRoger on LibraryThing 11 months ago
One of my favorite children's books. As a kid I, too, had dreams of flying. I still do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book book for my 3rd grade book report and I loved it. Georgie Dorian really wants to fly. But each time she would try, she would always get hurt. Then one night a Canadian goose came to Georgie's window and Georgie thought she would go with him. I think people will like this book because it is exciting from the beginning to the end. While I was reading I thought I might like to be friends with Georgie. Georgie has pretend tea parties with leaves for plates, grass for salad, stones for pudding, seeds from a tree for cookies and crackers, acorn caps and twigs for cups and spoons, and a basket with flowers that grew from the side of the hill as a centerpiece. Overall, this is a great book because it is a very interesting and unique story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have a sensitive 10-12 year old daughter, like my 10 yo, this is a must buy. She loved the characters in the book and felt empathy for the Goose.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so emotional. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all-time. It's such a unique plot...I was really kept reading by it. The characters are really uniquely layered, you actually care about their feelings. I never would have dreamed of a book like this--I'm VERY glad that my fourth-grade teacher had it in his bookshelves. GREAT BOOK!
melliemelo123 More than 1 year ago
The Fledgling is an amazing story.Jane Langton was very careful in her book.She made the sounds and feelings come to life. it starts out as a boring and the becomes very adventurous and has a big twist in the end.Ms.Langton did an amazing job on her book and i think you should get this book because of the action in it and you'd understand if you read it. READ THE FLEDGLING, Amelia