Book excerpt

The Vacation

Polly Horvath

Square Fish

Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Pepins and Their Problems, The Canning Season, and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the International White Raven, and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. She has taught ballet, waitressed, done temporary typing, and tended babies, but while doing these things she has always also written. Now that her children are in school, she spends the whole day writing, unless she sneaks out to buy groceries, lured away from her desk by the thought of fresh Cheez Whiz. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two daughters. From The Vacation
I must admit the beach was hot. I do not know why I didn’t expect this. I guess when you see beaches in magazine ads they look as if they are always a temperature for perfect comfort. We put our towels down, and Aunt Mag and Aunt Pigg lay on the sand where flies would land on them and then apparently change their minds. I watched this for a while. Then Aunt Magnolia sat up. "I'm too hot, Pigg," she said.
"I know what you mean," said Aunt Pigg. "But let’s give it a while longer"
They lay down again, and then Aunt Magnolia said, "How much longer?"
"Maybe we should get wet first," said Aunt Pigg. “Then we’ll be just the right temperature.”
"I don’t want to get in the water," said Aunt Magnolia. So Aunt Pigg went down to the water alone. She came back screaming. There were long thin whip marks over one shin.
“Jellyfish," said Aunt Magnolia reflectively. "I've seen them on the Discovery Channel. Must be very painful."
"Argh, argh, argh!" Aunt Pigg was shouting and hopping around on the good leg."
"Well, just lie down on the sand and put some wet sand on it," suggested Aunt Magnolia.
"Is that what you’re supposed to do?" asked Aunt Pigg.
"I don’t know," said Aunt Magnolia, lying back down herself and closing her eyes. "You know, I think I’m beginning to enjoy this. I feel a cool breeze stirring."