Review of Fuzzy Mud

sachar_fuzzy mudFuzzy Mud
by Louis Sachar
Intermediate, Middle School   Delacorte   184 pp.
8/15   978-0-385-74378-5   $16.99
Library ed. 978-0-375-99129-5   $19.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-385-37021-9   $10.99

A shortcut through the woods? What could go wrong? Neighbors and fellow outsiders Tamaya (fifth grade) and Marshall (seventh) are in bigger trouble than they know when Marshall diverts them from their usual route home in order to evade a bully, Chad. Not only does Chad know those woods, too, but there’s a pool of mysterious mud that leaves Tamaya with a mysterious rash after she’s grabbed a handful to sling into the bully’s face. (You don’t want to know what happens to him.) Interspersed with this expert school survival drama, and not impeding it one little bit, are excerpts of testimony from “secret Senate hearings” about a microscopic manmade organism, the “ergonym,” which seems to have escaped a secret laboratory to flourish in the wild, doubling its population every thirty-six minutes. (A helpful and horrifying sequence of pictures on the chapter heads shows you how to do the math.) Tamaya and Marshall make a sympathetic pair of heroes to center this exciting tale, vintage Sachar for the way it brings big ideas to everyday drama, and recalling classic William Sleator, too, for blending just-gross-enough horror with sober — if you can stop to think about it — consideration of ethics and science.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

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