Savvy by Ingrid Law

Cover of Savvy by Ingrid Law

A lovely storm

Law, Ingrid.  Savvy, 2008. Dial Books for Young Readers, ISBN: 978-0-8037-3306-0, Novel.

Quote: When something like that comes along, whether it’s an accident or a savvy or a very first kiss, life takes a turn and you can’t step back. All you can do is keep moving forward and remember what you’ve learned.

Awards: was a 2009 Newbery Honor book

Plot: Whenever a Beaumont turns 13, they get a special power they call their “savvy”.  Rocket controls electricity; Fish creates storms.  When Daddy is in a car accident and goes into a coma, Mibs knows her savvy will be to wake him right up.  With Fish and a couple kids from their church, Mibs sets out to reach her father.  Along the way they all learn about themselves and each other.

What I thought: A great road-trip novel for tweens!  As Mibs and company get into, and out of, trouble on their trip, all of the characters grow up a bit.  There’s also a strong theme of standing up to and working past bullying which is a needed message these days.

Audience: kids 9-13, especially fantasy fans you want to introduce to realistic fiction or vice versa.

Strengths/weaknesses:  The book is a little long for this age group at 368 but the story just zips along and is action packed.  It really holds your attention.  It’s a good crossover novel between the realistic/fantasy genres as well as between boys and girls.

Uses:  This book would be a good read for a kid’s book club or summer reading program.

Read-alikes: Scumble by Ingrid Law, Drizzle by Kathleen van Cleve, and Diamond Willow by Helen Frost


Pictures pulled from


Snarked: Forks and Hope by Roger Langridge

Langridge, Roger, Snarked: Forks and Hope. 2012, Kaboom!. ISBN: 978-1-60886-095-1, graphic novel, collection of issues 0-4 of the comic book series.


So join us as we tell the tale

Of how unfolds this day!

Excitement and adventure wait!

They’re just a whim away!

There’s secrets, signs and shadows,

Yes, and enemies anew.

But never fear–because there’ll be

Some friends encountered too…

Awards: won 2012 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)

Plot:  Set after the events in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Snarked follows the adventures of the Walrus and the Carpenter, two con men, as they live in Wonderland.  The King has gone missing and young Princess Scarlet and her baby brother Prince Rusty have to escape the palace and the evil advisors.  They join up with the Walrus and the Carpenter and begin the hunt for the King.

What I thought: This graphic novel was really funny.  And really clever.  It is full of asides and nods to the Carroll novels and works these references in seamlessly.  The Walrus, who could be the villain in a different story, is the scoundrel-with-a-heart and the brains of the story.  Usually a step ahead of everyone, he meets his match in Princess Scarlet, who is single-minded in her quest to find her father.  The conflict between those two characters is more interesting than that between the heroes and the palace advisors.  Many other characters from the original books show up too such as the Cheshire Cat, the Gryphon, Bill the Lizard and others.

Audience: A tough one.  While the art and events are suitable for 3rd graders, the vocabulary is far more complex and more along what a 5th or 6th grader would understand.

Strengths/weaknesses:  While the comic is understandable, and funny, without having read the books, it is very referential to Carroll’s work.  It is a much richer experience if one has read Carroll’s books before reading this work.  Also, this book is just the first of three and so is not a complete story.

Uses: would be great as a follow-up to Carroll’s work.  The comics have wonderful rich word choices and would be a good way to expand children’s vocabulary by seeing the words in context.  Because of the split between the action/picture understanding level and the reading level of the text, it would be a good book to read with/to a child.

Read-alikes: There are two sequels, Volume 2: Ships and Sealing Wax and Volume 3.  There are also the novels the series is based upon: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

Picture pulled from

Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider

Cover for Tales for Very Picky Eaters

Oh No!

Schneider, Josh, Tales for Very Picky Eaters. 2011, Clarion Books. ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1, early reader.

Quote:”I can’t eat broccoli,” said James.  “It’s disgusting.”

Awards: 2012 Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Plot: James doesn’t like many foods so his dad gets creative.  He spins stories about what will happen if James does not eat!

What I Thought: This book is an interesting early reader.  There are four stories about what will happen if James doesn’t eat broccoli, milk, oatmeal or lasagna.  The fifth story has James describing what he thinks his dad is going to say to try to get him to eat eggs and is a cute reversal of the previous stories.  James’ unnamed father does not appear in the cartoon illustrations but James and his dog are drawn reacting to the scenarios the father describes.  This is an advanced early reader as the vocabulary is a little challenging.

Audience:  students in 1st-3rd grade, depending on reading fluency and picky eatingness!

Strengths/weaknesses: The stories are funny with great illustrations but a become a bit repetitive in tone, which is somewhat expected in an early reader.

Uses: Besides as a reading along with a child, a couple stories could be used in a story time and lead to some fun discussions about food.

Read-alikes: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess, It’s a Book by Lane Smith, Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems


Picture pulled from Tower Books.