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When I was in middle school (1990’s), I remember this book about two worlds that exist. If you travel through the pond, you can get to the other world. I cannot remember who the narrator is, but I believe it is a girl, and she discovers a boy that came from the other world, possibly a prince from that world? I remember him staying with her and her dad or at least visiting them and him studying this new world and its ways. I also believe the girl traveled through the pond to his world, maybe because he was in trouble?

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    Probably not what you are looking for, but the 6th book in C S Lewis' Narnia series, "The Magician's Nephew", introduces a magical in-between place called 'the wood between the worlds'. It contains many ponds, and each pond can take you to a different world. The narrator is a girl named Polly. However it doesn't fit the rest of your description very well.
    – Ethan
    Jan 8 at 7:04
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    @Ethan first book chronologically.
    – Jontia
    Jan 8 at 7:15
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    If someone posts the correct answer, you can accept by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons, as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 8 at 12:36
  • scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/188450/… seems a little less likely since she just gets pulled in, and you probably would have mentioned the ghosts and the pumpkin head
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 8 at 12:40

6 Answers 6

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The visiting of worlds through a pond sounds remarkably like C.S.Lewis' The Magician's Nephew.

Set around 1900, a young girl called Polly meets her neighbour Digory. They are both then caught up in his Uncle's experiments with coloured rings and magic dust that will transport you to another world.

Digory finds himself transported to a sleepy woodland with an almost narcotic effect; he finds Polly nearby. The woodland is filled with pools. Digory and Polly surmise that the wood is not really a proper world at all but a "Wood between the Worlds", similar to the attic that links their houses back in England, and that each pool leads to a separate universe.

Neither child's parents feature in the story at all. And neither child is royalty.

They do meet Jadis, Queen or Empress of Charn and take her to London and then the new world of Narnia. A London cabbie and his wife caught up in these events are elevated to King and Queen of Narnia.

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    It does feature royalty - the person they bring from the other world is a queen from a dying world. Additionally, they stay at the Uncle's house where the queen learns about the new world (earth). Jan 8 at 13:42
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    @AJarofClay And that turned out well for them, didn't it? :)
    – DavidW
    Jan 8 at 15:13
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To me it sounds very much like Under Plum Lake, a children's novel by Lionel Davidson (published 1980), where the main character (from what I remember) nearly drowns in a lake and is rescued by someone from an advanced civilization that exists beneath the lake.

While my memory of the book is very hazy, I think the two main characters (one from each world) were both boys, but the one from the other world was from a fairly influential family (his father was something like a government minister).

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As per Help identifying a story where kids discover some kind of wormhole in a garden, this might be The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby by Palmer Brown.

Anna Lavinia’s father wanted her to have another point of view, so what did he do? He made a peephole in the garden wall. But he couldn’t have known that this new view would lead Anna Lavinia all the way to the upside-down mirror land that lies on the other side of the pond. Here Anna Lavinia meets Toby, who explains that on the other side, instead of gravity, there’s something called “the tingle,” which feels like “the tickle that comes before a sneeze, or the thrill that comes when the knot in a ribbon just begins to loosen,” and allows for floating and spectacular feats of tree-climbing (but mind your furniture doesn’t drift away!). Toby introduces Anna Lavinia to a variety of wonders and oddballs, including an uncanny fortune-teller, a turtle with a jungle on its back, and Aunt Cornelia, who’s never quite recovered from the disappearance of a certain young man into Anna Lavinia’s world a very long time ago.

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Your description, while not an exact match, reminds me of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, which is a wonderful short novel. Young boy meets young girl. She has a pond behind her house, which she calls an ocean. She and her family are from another world and they are royalty.

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. You could improve this answer by explaining how it does, and does not, match the question.
    – DavidW
    Jan 9 at 16:14
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    While your summary seems to fit the requested plot points, the timeline doesn't. OP says they read it in the 90s but your GoodReads link says this book was published in 2013.
    – techturtle
    Jan 9 at 21:24
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Also reminds me of Edward Eager's Magic by the Lake, but details are different. Parents are present. Visitors from other realms do stay for a bit.

Ponds as a portal to another world are remarkably common.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Please don't add additional answers for works that are less likely to be the correct answer than the existing answers unless you can make a really strong case for them. As you note, portal pools are a common trope, so to list them all would clutter up this question with unlikely answers.
    – DavidW
    Jan 10 at 22:27
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Not really another world, and there is no prince, but maybe Bridge to Terabithia?

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – fez
    Jan 9 at 9:54
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    You've mentioned how this doesn't fit, but not how it does.
    – F1Krazy
    Jan 9 at 10:04
  • While BtT would fit the timeline (published in 1978) I think the details are too dissimilar to the book described. None of the characters in BtT are from Terabithia (all of its residents are imaginary). Getting to Terabithia entailed a rope swing over a river, similar to but unmistakable compared to entering a body of water.
    – Gatchwar
    Jan 10 at 21:12

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