On my drive over, I listed to Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Newbery Honor Book The Egypt Game. I checked it out on the recommendation of one Pseudonymous Bosch, an intriguing and imaginative children's author. He mentioned The Egypt Game on a summer reading list he compiled for another blog, and after he likened it to A Wrinkle in Time and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, I knew I had to read it. Or, in my case, listen to it.
The Egypt Game is the story of a handful of children who prefer imaginative games to the more physical ball games of their classmates. They create for themselves a little Egypt behind a mysterious second-hand goods store, and there they act out rituals, histories, and anything else than come up with that corresponds with Ancient Egypt. There's quite a bit of intrigue in the mix--after a girl is murdered in the neighborhood, none of the children are allowed out to play. When "the Egyptians" finally do return to Egypt, things start to seem eerie: their oracle begins to actually work, one of them notices they are being watched, and Egypt might not be as safe or secret as they thought. There's nothing explicitly scary in this book, though--while mystery and suspense are part of the novel, it should still be suitable for most elementary-aged readers.
The author wrote a slew of other books about these children and their games, and I think I'll be looking into them if I have any more long car trips coming up. Until then, I'd suggest this book for readers/listeners who enjoy a bit of imagination, a bit of safe mystery and suspense, and reminders of those elaborate, wonderful games we played as children.