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Savvy

Savvy, by Ingrid Law, Dial Books for Young Readers, 2008

Grade Level: 6-8

ISBN & Cost: 9780803733060; 0803733062; $16.99

Savvy by Ingrid Law. Copyright © 2008. Used with permission of Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

 

Synopsis:

Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.

 

General Review:

Author Ingrid Law's vivid and quirky characters come to life in this story about a family with magical powers trying to live regular lives in the everyday world. The Beaumont family seems fairly ordinary except for one thing: at age 13, each Beaumont's savvy -- a supernatural power unique to that person -- is revealed. The Beaumonts must then focus on learning to scumble, or control, their savvies. For instance, the oldest Beaumont brothers cause a huge power outage and a hurricane before learning to tame their powers. The story centers on Mibs, the middle child of the five Beaumont siblings, who is about to turn 13. Just days before her birthday, Mibs's father is seriously injured in a car accident, and she finds herself praying for a savvy that can save him. A meddling but well-meaning preacher's wife complicates matters, and Mibs ends up stowing away on a bus with the preacher's kids and two of her siblings tagging along. They head out on a journey full of adventure to discover Mibs's savvy and try to help her father with plenty of complications along the way. Strengths of this book are its colorful characters and fresh, folksy storytelling with the feel of a tall tale. The author has created an original, imaginative story about the importance of family and finding the strength to dig deep within oneself to overcome obstacles.

 

Themes: Magic, Brothers and sisters, Voyages and travels, Kansas, Fantasy.

 

Author information: http://www.ingridlaw.com/

•  Official book website. Includes information about the book, including a promotional video clip. You can read and listen to chapter one on this website. http://us.penguingroup.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/savvy/index.html

•  Book and author information from Walden Media http://www.walden.com/book/savvy/

•  Author interview transcript http://us.penguingroup.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/savvy/ingridlaw.html

•  Podcast interview with author from Book Bites for Kids http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids/2008/12/16/book-bites-for-kids-author-ingrid-law-is-todays-guest/scrub/18

•  Audio file and interview transcript from Read Kiddo Read http://readkiddoread.ning.com/page/ingrid-law

•  Author's blog http://straightfromthejar.blogspot.com/

•  "Ingrid Law." Contemporary Authors Online . Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center . Gale. Kansas State Library. 5 Jan. 2010 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LitRC&u=klnb_kanstlib>. Available through free access to KanED Education Desktop/State Library Databases.

 

Discussion Questions: (Standard 3, Benchmark 3)

  1. Why did the Beaumont family move away from the coast? Why do they live in an isolated area?
  2. Describe the savvies of the Beaumont family. Which savvy do you think is the most useful? Once the young Beaumonts learn to scumble their savvies, how could they use their savvies to help people?
  3. Predict: What will Samson's and Gypsy's savvies be?
  4. The author has created some very colorful characters in this story. Besides just their savvies, what makes each character unique? How would you describe these characters? Do they remind you of people you know or of other characters from literature or movies?
  5. Mrs. Beaumont home chools each of her children after they turn 13. Why does she do this? Do you agree with her decision?
  6. What are the reasons that some people choose to home school in America today? Do you think kids get as good an education from homeschooling as they do from a public or private school? Why or why not? What are some pros and cons of homeschooling?
  7. In the Beaumont family, turning 13 is a big milestone. What has been your best birthday so far? What made it special? What birthday are you most looking forward to? Why?
  8. If you had the choice, would you want to be part of the Beaumont family? Why or why not?

 

Teacher's guide from the publisher available online: http://us.penguingroup.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/savvy/Savvy.pdf

 

Activities:

  1. Plan a birthday party for one of the Beaumont children. Choose a theme that fits their personality and design invitations, decorations, a guest list, menu, games, music, and activities. (Standard 1, Benchmark 3)
  2. How do you think the Beaumont family came to have their savvies? Come up with a story that explains where their savvies come from. Answer these questions in your story: Who was the first Beaumont to have a savvy? Where did the savvy come from? Why were they given savvies? Why are they passed down through the family? Why age 13? (Standard 1, Benchmark 3)
  3. Think about your friends and family. What are their special gifts and talents? Make a list. What are your special gifts and talents? What talent do you wish you had? It can be real (singing) or imaginary (flying). (Standard 1, Benchmark 3)
  4. Mibs goes on a longer road trip than she had planned when she stows away on the bus. Design your perfect road trip. Where would you go? What attractions would you visit? How would you travel? Who would you invite to go with you? What would it cost? Map your route and estimate your expenses. This would be a fun group project. (Standard 1, Benchmarks 3, 4, 5; Standard 2, Benchmark 4; Standard 3, Benchmarks 1, 2, 3, 4; Standard 4, Benchmarks 1, 2; Standard 5, Benchmark 3; Standard 8, Benchmark 3)

 

Road trip lessons:

•  Longitude and latitude road trip lesson plan: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/01/g35/roadtrip.html

•  Road trip lesson plan (create travel plan, research sites):

http://h30411.www3.hp.com/articles/viewArticle/p/courseId/1327/Road_trip_lesson_plan_.htm?courseSessionId=1165&campusId=1104&webPageId=1000400

•  Teacher guided activities: http://www.parlo.com/en/teachers/lessonplans/roadeng_1.asp

 

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