Rummanah Aasi

Description: Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour,reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined. In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

Review:  Fuzzy Mud is a nice blend of mystery, science, and suspense that will keep young readers turning the pages. In the woods behind Woodridge Academy, in Heath Cliff, Pennsylvania, a an unknown substance called "fuzzy mud" because of its seemingly innocuous appearance grows exponentially more threatening by the hour. While taking a shortcut home from school in order to avoid the school bully, fifth-grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and her neighbor Marshall Walsh unknowingly causes a horrible chain of reactions. In order to protect themselves from Chad, the bully, Tamaya flings fuzzy mud at the him when he won't leave them alone. When she comes in contact with the mud, she breaks out into a terrible, blistery rash. When Chad is reported missing the next day, she knows the mud is to blame and returns to find him.
  Sachar provides a fun and terrifying look at science by interspersing court transcripts regarding Biolene, a high-energy biofuel being developed secretly in Heath Cliff with Tamaya’s story of danger and suspense. With increased tension and pacing, he slowly reveals the connection to Biolene and fuzzy mud along. There is a nice balance between realistic problems such as bullying, divorce, and serious science topics like overpopulation, the energery crisis, and the risks of bio-engineering advancements. The story is very easy to follow and the characters are well rounded and easy to root for. There is surprisingly a lot of depth in this science fiction thriller. 

Curriculum Connection: Science

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images and scenes of bullying. Recommended for strong Grade 3 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Zap! by Martha Freeman, The Big Dark by W.R. Philibrick
2 Responses
  1. I like the sound of this one. It focuses on some important issues, has science and I want to know more about Fuzzy Mud. I will have to see if I can get one of my kiddos to read this one.

  2. This sounds like a fun middle grade novel with a little bit for everyone.

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