Savvy by Ingrid Law
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of the most engaging stories/narrators I have read in awhile. I tried hard to think of something I didn;t like, just for some balance (not because I am such a negative person), and I still have yet to come up with something.
Savvy is the story of Mibs (Mississippi) Beaumont and her rather unusual family. At 13, every member of the Beaumont family discovers they have a "savvy," a special power of some sort. Mibs' brother, Fish, can manipulate the weather (he caused a hurricane on his 13th birthday), and her brother Rocket manipulates electrcity (his 13th birthday was pretty unusual, too). Mibs' father is the only member of the Beaumont family with no special powers, having married in. When he is involved in a terrible car accident the day before Mibs herself turns 13, Mibs stops wishing for a grand, mind-blowing savvy and wishes instead for something that will help her save her father. With two of her brothers and her pastors kids in two, Mibs leaves her tiny community in the middle of nowhere, between Kansas and Nebraska (or Kansaska-Nebransas, as they call it -- Kansaska Monday-Wednesday, Nebransas Thursday-Saturday) to get to her father and work her savvy. The resulting story is a discovery of self for each character, from their own talents and savvies, to their loves and feelings and inner stength.
I know I made that sound really cheesy, but it's not. Ingrid Law deals with some heavy stuff in a light and engaging manner. The language and Mibs' narration is absolutely perfect. It's charming and funny and unusual. It's addictive, begging to be read aloud. The alliteration and silliness of the language may irritate some people, but I adored it. I don't see how it's possible not to fall in love with Mibs and the Beaumonts, and all of the peripheral characters.
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As I mentioned (many times), one of my favorite aspects of this book was the language. So as a little enticement, I thought I would present a Mibs Dictionary. Here are some of my favorite crazy words and phrases (both real and Mibs-created) from Savvy:
- "get frittered" <--- possibly the best insult ever. I have to use this, now.
- muddle and muzzy
- rumpus <---Where the Wild Things Are reference! Always good in my book.
- spunk and hink
The Official Website for Savvy has a ton of cool bonus features, including
- an excerpt of the book, which you can read or listen to!
- a short story of the legend Law created to explain the Beaumont's savvies
- a Teacher's Guide, including discussion questions, a savvy character chart, info about Ingrid Law and the book, and tips on starting your own book club
- a downloadable Savvy wallpaper
- and a trailer for the book
And here, for your viewing pleasure, is an interview with Law conducted by Booklist just days before Savvy was awarded a Newbery honor: