Flashback Fridays: The Game of Life . . .

You’re a kid who has been left disfigured by a withered arm after a long illness.  Your older siblings decide to try and cheer you up by inventing a fantasy game and telling stories about a magical power that can be won at the end of the game.  But it isn’t long before what was purely imaginary starts intruding into the real . . .

Do you remember: 

The Power of the Rellard by Carolyn F. Logan (Random House, c1986)

Lucy is beginning to recover from a nervous system illness that has left her with a withered and useless arm.  (The cover image bugs me a little because it shows her arms without the injury apparent) Anxious and worried over their sister’s darker moods  and eager to get her mind off of things, her brother and sister decide to invent a game, a wildly imaginative contest for a magical prize.  They pick up some old yard sale items including, I believe an old gazing ball that they call The Rellard.   While playing this game, however, things don’t stay imaginary.  Odd things start happening and agents of dark forces appear to challenge each of the children in turn, intent on winning the power for themselves.  Ultimately good  triumphs over evil.

Something about this book was instant-love for me.  I read and re-read the library copy and checked it out often.  I lost track of it for years upon years and only recently have stumbled upon a copy online.  It came to mind when I created my A Tuesday Ten: Game On list and I was pondering the fact that I knew there were other books based on games that I had read. Didn’t think of this one until this morning, however.

It’s a great example of a story where magic and fantasy intrude upon the barriers of ordinary life and slide in almost seamlessly.  In some cases when magic slips in this way, it slips out again just as unnoticed and leaving only memories behind.  That isn’t quite the situation here, as Lucy  gains use of her arm again at the end of the adventure when she reaches the tree and claims her power. But it’s a lovely piece of storytelling adventure that really touches on something a lot of kids

The author, Carolyn F. Logan,  appears to have written only three other books, all of them more obscure than this one.  I always wonder when an author has just one or a small handful of books out there  like this.  Part of me wants to write to Ms. Logan and ask why she didn’t write more stories.  It’s funny how much of an impact something can have on you despite it being an obscure book by an obscure author.  I thank all those obscure and under appreciated authors out there for their contributions.  Having a recognized name and a large readership is marvelous but even those books that seem like they fall away into the ocean of fiction still manage to spark in readers who encounter them.

Have you encountered this story?  Or do you have an obscure favorite of your own?  Comments welcome!

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About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on November 8, 2013, in General Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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