As a child, 'Over Sea, Under Stone' was by far my favourite book and years later in my twenties, I went looking for it for nostagic reasons. I was pleasantly suprised to find that there were 4 other books in the series, of which the Dark is Rising is the second.
Even as an adult, I love 'The Dark is Rising', which is the pick of the series for me.
As the cold winter nights draw in, I often get this one out and re-live it.
I find myself in each scene that Susan Cooper weaves - decorating the Christmas tree with a big bustling family around, walking down the lane with Will Stanton on the winter morning he comes of age, as a blanket of newly fallen snow lays all around. I can even see the light from a working Smithy up ahead, which wasn't there before - the scene is from the past but the people seem to be from the present...
But danger is never far away, should you start feeling too cosy. As a child I used to have to leave the snug warmth of the fireside and go out into the cold, pitch black, wild, wintry night to get more coal for the fire. It was kept in an unlit shed some distance away from the house and it was a bit scary until the warm glow of the house was back in sight.
This is how the book feels.
The large Stanton family are the normalising, comforting factor in young Will's life but even they are slowly being dragged into the clutches of the Dark unless Will can find the 6 signs that he was born to do before the power of the Dark reaches it's peak (which I think is 12 days after Christmas)
Unfortunately the film, in addition to forgetting some of the main characters, forgetting that the Stantons are BRITISH and having a hammy ending, rips out the entire soul of the book by simply concentrating on "the quest", rather than the characters (who are mis-cast in the main).
So in summary, don't be put off by the film. I can't give a higher recommendation to get this book for anyone aged 10 onwards.