The Landing

John Ibbitson's young adult novel is about a boy who dreams of playing the violin, set on a farm on the shores of Depression-era Lake Muskoka, Ont.

John Ibbitson

Ben Mercer just wants to play the violin, but on his uncle's remote farm on the shores of Depression-era Lake Muskoka, his dreams of playing the violin are fading fast. Ben finds the time to practice between chores, but he seems destined to spend his life working at Cook's Landing at the beck and call of rich people on vacation. That is, until Ruth Chapman hires him to do repairs on her neglected cottage. A rich widow from Manhattan, Ruth introduces Ben to a world of dinner parties and great luxuries. She teaches him about music and even has him play the violin for her guests. Ben becomes desperate to leave his life of poverty behind, but when Ruth becomes increasingly remote and leaves her cottage, his chances of escaping become slim. The Landing won the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature.

The Landing is for readers ages 13 and up.

From the book

They went back to watching their lines, until Cal asked quietly, "You're not very happy, are you?"

Ben shook his head. "How can you tell?"

"I've known you since first grade."

"Yeah, well, I guess." Ben straightened up. "I just... I just see everything that's gonna happen. I'm going to stay at the Landing, or move into town and that's it. And, I dunno, I figured there'd be more."

"Yeah, well, you always were different, playing the violin and everything."

"Yeah, well, right now, I wish I'd never started."

"You'd have just done something else. You're pretty strange, you know. I mean, you read, even when you don't have to."

From The Landing by John Ibbitson ©2008. Published by Kids Can Press.