Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Ingrid Law
For ages 9 to 12
Penguin, 2010   ISBN: 978-0803733077

For months, years even, Ledge Kale has looked forward to his thirteenth birthday. For most people turning thirteen is mostly all about becoming a bona fide teenager, but for Ledge and the people in his family, turning thirteen is much more. On their thirteenth birthdays, they acquire a savvy, a gift or talent that usually has a profound effect on their lives. Ledge is convinced that his savvy will make him a great runner in some way. He is therefore horrified when, on what should be his great day, his savvy turns out to be something altogether different; Ledge is able to literally able to “blow stuff apart without a touch”. In his presence, door handles come flying off, and watches fall to pieces.

Nine days after his thirteenth birthday Ledge and his family drive to a wedding at the family ranch in Wyoming. His parents somehow think that everything will be all right. Surely Ledge can keep his savvy under control for a few days. Well, the fact is that he can’t. During the trip the muffler and one of wheels of the minivan all fall victim to his savvy. Desperately Ledge tries to hold his savvy in check, and he just about manages until they take a pit stop in Sundance, a town close to the ranch. Here Ledge’s savvy rips lose and he takes apart a vintage motorcycle. Worse still, a girl called Sarah Jane sees what happens and she decides to investigate further.

Not long after this awful savvy disaster, Sarah Jane secretly turns up at the family wedding and she witnesses many of the strange savvies that Ledge’s aunts, uncles, and cousins have. Ledge is horrified when he finds out. Sarah Jane likes to publish a little local newspaper. What will happen if she tells everybody that Ledge and the people in his family are able to move mountains (literally), levitate, manipulate electricity, and communicate with insects?

After Ledge singlehanded demolishes a barn and practically everything in it, the family decide that he should stay at the ranch for a while. Perhaps he will figure out how to scumble, or control, his savvy. Unfortunately, Ledge has no idea how to make his “anti-talent” behave itself. How can he control self-doubt and fear? Until he can do so, being able to scumble is going to be impossible.

This deliciously wonderful companion book to Savvy will not only entertain and delight readers. It will also give readers something to think about. Though we might not have a savvy like Ledge, many of us have things in our lives that frighten us, just as he does. We fear what might be, we fear disappointing others, we fear making mistakes. Just like Ledge, we have to find a way to turn our fear into something else, something beautiful, or meaningful, or useful.

With humor, sensitivity, and wonderfully engaging characters Ingrid Law tells a story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.