I was so excited when this book, the sequel to Savvy, arrived at my library. I adored Savvy so much that I read it over again, out loud to my kids, and they enjoyed it, too. We were a little disappointed to discover that Mibs, who tells the first story with such a distinctive and engaging voice, is not the narrator of Scumble. This story is told by Mibs' cousin Ledger, and the story is set nine years after Savvy.
Ledger is on the brink of his thirteenth birthday, the momentous day when he will discover what his savvy is - in his family, everyone has a unique magical ability, and it typically manifests itself the day a child turns thirteen. Ledger's mother has the excruciating ability to make people do exactly what she tells them. His grandfather's savvy enables him to move mountains - literally. His grandmother was able to capture radio transmissions and save them in jars - just loosen the lid, and the sound from decades earlier comes out. Ledger is hoping that his savvy will make him the fastest runner ever. But of course, life is not that easy. Ledger has a powerful savvy, all right - so powerful that his parents end up leaving him at his uncle's ranch in Wyoming until he learns to "scumble," or control, his savvy.
Ledger's savvy gets him into one pickle after another - and when he meets Sarah Jane, a thirteen-year-old self-styled snoopy reporter, she witnesses some of the special things his family can do. How can he keep her quiet when everywhere he goes his savvy makes itself known in spectacular ways?
I really missed Mibs, but I did like Ledger. He tells the story in a less colorful way, truer to his own character, and the story is exciting and enjoyable. For some reason, though, my daughters simply did not connect with this book the way they did with Savvy. When reading time came, they were never that enthusiastic about continuing the story, and after weeks went by with no one really getting very excited about the book or asking to read it, I finally suggested we set it aside and try something else.
I was surprised when they readily agreed - I wanted to know what was going to happen to Ledger, but they just didn't seem to care. They saw me finishing the book on my own, and neither of them even asked me what happened! Maybe they didn't connect with Ledger, and they sure didn't care much for the snoopy Sarah Jane, who was pretty obnoxious and kept blackmailing Ledge and lying to him, and he really let her walk all over him. I didn't connect with her, but I loved the the story, Ledge's family, his relationship with his cousins and his little sister (who, with her helmet fixation, I kept imagining to look exactly like the little helmet girl in Officer Buckle and Gloria).
If you enjoyed Savvy, give Scumble a try. While I didn't love it as much as Savvy, it's still a fun, exciting, enjoyable book.
Books in the Savvy series:
Scumble (#2 in the Savvy series) by Ingrid Law (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010)
Also reviewed at:
Book Nut: "It's another incredibly sweet, heart-warming (but without being overly smushy) book from Law. Creative, well-written, and thoroughly engaging, you can't help but want to be a part of their family."
Bookshelves of Doom: "Like Savvy, it's got colorful characters, an engaging plotline, and despite some hurdles to be overcome, fears to be faced, and tears to be shed, it's a pretty gentle adventure."
One Librarian's Book Reviews: "A hilarious and unique family story filled with old-fashioned good fun."