Written by Louis Sachar
Fifth grader Tamaya always follows the rules and is sometimes called a “goody-goody.” But this is just how she is. She and her friend Marshall who is in seventh grade have walked to school together for years following the same route every day. But one day when Marshall decides to take a short cut through the off-limits woods instead, Tamaya does not understand and is conflicted. She decides to follow Marshall anyway, knowing that she is supposed to walk home with him, but the two soon become lost. Then, the reason for the change becomes apparent when they are confronted by Chad, the school bully. He starts to beat up Marshall and, trying to defend her friend, Tamaya picks up a handful of this strange looking fuzzy mud and throws it in Chad’s face. Chad is temporarily thrown off, and the two make their escape. But all of a sudden Tamaya’s hand that touched the mud starts to tingle, then break out in small bumps. By the time she gets home there are blisters. By morning her hand is even worse. That day, at school, there is an announcement that Chad is missing. Marshall, scared, will not reveal he saw him the day before. And Tamaya, caught between wanting to support her friend or tell what she knows, takes off on her own into the woods in hopes of finding Chad. What happens next is a page turning mystery-thriller. Louis Sachar tells a brilliant story of friendship and doing what is right with a backdrop setting of an environmental disaster. The mud “is actually a substance (Biolene) with the potential to wreak havoc on the entire world.” (Publisher) The story is also told in three time periods: a hearing a year before the disaster with the creator of Biolene and a US Senate committee; the present with Tamaya, Marshall, and Chad; and the future, telling what happens as a result of exposure. Mr. Sachar deftly handles these time periods and pulls the reader in with his amazing writing style that “engages the mind as well as the heart.” (Publisher) I loved this story.
Review by Renee Larsen, Hillside Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-8
Written by Louis Sachar
Release Date: August 4, 2015
4 thoughts on “Fuzzy Mud”
Ooooh, sounds interesting! Great review Renee, thanks.
Renee, your AWESOME review compelled me to read this week and I shot through during a layover at the Dallas airport! It was a great page-turner, making it very approachable for kids, but also raises some important ethical questions that will keep the reader thinking long after they have finished the book. I think kids (and adults) are going to love this.
Thanks for your review.
I’ve recommended this book to several students and a teacher after your presentation and after reading it myself. Everyone loves it!