As you may or may not know, I am a children’s librarian. This means I have to keep up with my kiddie reads as well as leisure reading for myself. I’ve been a big old fat slacker on that front lately, so I am going to try to add a few middle school reviews in here or there.
This week I read Louis Sachar’s Fuzzy Mud. Sachar is the author of well know children’s book, Holes. Fuzzy Mud is on the nominee list for the 2016-2017 Black-Eyed Susan Award, which is a children’s choice award for the state of Maryland. It is a middle school read for kids 4th-6th grade.
Fuzzy Mud follows 5th grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and 7th grader Marshall Walsh. Everyday these two neighbors walk to Woodbridge Academy, a private school for the super smart or really rich. Tamaya fits into the first category and Marshall, well, he falls someplace in the middle.
One day Marshall is threatened by the class bully, Chad, and decides to make a break for it through the woods surrounding Woodbridge Academy in the hopes of not getting beat up. Tamaya, who isn’t allowed to walk home by herself, follows Marshall into the restricted woods. The two get hopelessly lost and Chad ends up finding them anyway. As Marshall is getting beat up, Tamaya notices some fuzzy, odd looking mud and on instinct chucks it in Chads face.
Tamaya and Marshall make a break for it and agree not to tell anyone about what happened. The next day Chad is missing and Tamaya has a rash growing exponentially up her arm. What happened to Chad? And what could have caused Tamaya’s horrible rash? In the days, weeks and months that follow the US Government and the CDC gets involved. Just what have Tamaya and Marshall gotten themselves into?
Mystery meets science fiction mixed with themes of friendship, bullying and a bit of suspense, Fuzzy Mud should definitely keep kids interested… That is, if they even pick the book up in the first place. Reading the jacket description of this book tells you nothing. I thought this was going to be a standard lost in the woods or stand up to bullies read but there was so much more to it than that. Science, senate hearings, quarantines, even mini rants on environmental resources, this book has quite a bit of depth to it.
We’ve got a male and female protagonist, so this book can be recommend to both boys and girls easily. And even though there is a serious disease sweeping the town, the story is not overly graphic for sensitive readers.
A quick, easy read that would appeal to a wide range of middle schoolers.
That’s all for now!