Saturday, October 23, 2010


by Ingrid Law
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Burlington, MA : Puffin ; Walden Media, 2010, c2008.

The Beaumont family is special. They each have a savvy - kind of like a knack for something, though in a big way, like Fish's ability to conjure up storms when water's nearby - that generally comes to them on their thirteenth birthday party. Mibs is about to turn thirteen, and she can't wait to find out what her savvy is. Then her father gets in a car accident, her mother and brother Rocket go to the hospital in Salina, and her birthday appears to be ruined. Running away from her unwanted birthday party at the church, Mibs ducks into a bus that has Salina written on it, figuring she'll make her way to the hospital to her father to help him with her new savvy. But a few extra passengers and a travel detour derail her plans.

In some ways, this story reminded me of tall tales. Everyone has a certain knack for something or a quirkiness to them, but in the Beaumont family, it's just one step beyond - yet not quite far enough to make the story a fantasy. Mibs is an engaging narrator, with every inventive adjective, alliteration and internal rhyme adding to the storytelling sound of the book. She was a fun heroine to cheer for as she came to know herself and, through her savvy, her family and new-found friends, Bobbi and Will. I'm just a teensy bit disappointed that the next book in the series, Scumble, is about her cousin.

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