Reviews for Scumble

Booklist Reviews 2010 July #1
*Starred Review* This companion to Newbery Honor Book Savvy (2008) provides the same high level of satisfying plot, delightful characters, alliterative language, and rich imagery. In this story, Ledger Kale's thirteenth birthday arrives with the traditional family inheritance of a particular "savvy"--a power unique to each individual, who must then learn how to manage his or her new talent. At first it seems that Ledge's savvy is one for destruction: "I could blow stuff apart without a touch, dismantling small things in bursts of parts and pieces: a light switch here, a doorknob there, garage door opener, can opener, Dad's stop watch, his electric nose-hair trimmer too." But during a summer visit to the Flying Cattleheart, Uncle Autry's Wyoming ranch, Ledge learns to tame, train, and deploy his power to good ends as he struggles against 13-year-old Sarah Jane Cabot, an aspiring reporter looking to expose the family's secrets, whose businessman father is trying to foreclose on the ranch. Other characters include Ledge's safety-slogan-spouting seven-year-old sister Fedora, levitating twin cousins, and Grandpa Bomba, who is comforted in his last days by sweet music, preserved in old peanut-butter jars, from his long-dead wife. While adult readers will see this all as a beautiful conceptualization of the drama and metamorphosis of adolescence, younger readers will delight in the tall-tale tropes and Ledge's authentic physical, emotional, and artistic challenges. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Ledger Kale's power--"dismantling small things in bursts of parts and pieces"--is a letdown. What's worse, he can't control (or scumble) it. As in Savvy, there's great fun in getting to know the extended Beaumont family (Ledge is Mibbs's cousin); poignant side-stories deepen emotional connections to the characters. The tale's arc, complete with a nice-guys-finish-first ending, is eminently satisfying. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #5
This Savvy sequel focuses on Ledger Kale, Mibs's cousin. Ledge has just turned thirteen and, as Savvy fans know, this means big doings: he's on the verge of discovering his special power. His father is rooting for super-speed -- all the better to compete in the father/son half marathon -- so the reality turns out to be a letdown: "Watches and windshield wipers everywhere, look out! I could blow stuff apart without a touch, dismantling small things in bursts of parts and pieces: a light switch here, a doorknob there...I was simply Ledger Kale, doohickey-destructo boy less-than extraordinaire." What's worse, he can't control (or scumble) his power, resulting in a cataclysmic event at the Beaumont compound. Ledge must learn how to take charge of his ability -- no mean feat with pesky Sarah Jane Cabot, small-town tabloid journalist, sniffing around. As in Savvy, there's great fun in getting to know the extended Beaumont family; especially endearing here is Ledger's safety-rule-spouting little sister Fedora ("Safety starts with S, Ledge, but it begins with you"). Poignant side-stories involving cousin Rocket's guilt, cousin Samson's invisibility, and Grandpa's loneliness deepen the emotional connections to the characters. The story's arc, complete with a nice-guys-finish-first en[Mon May 2 23:08:46 2016] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. ding, is eminently satisfying. elissa gershowitz Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 July #1
Law tries again—and much too hard—for the fizzy mix of hard-won character development and freewheeling family romp that earned Savvy (2008) a Newbery Honor. Here, Ledger, like his now-grown cousin Mibs, expects the "savvy" that he'll gain on his 13th birthday to be one thing, but it turns out to be quite another—so instead of becoming the superfast runner he dearly wishes to be, suddenly watches, locks, pants zippers and machines of all sorts anywhere nearby are exploding into their component parts whenever he's upset. And upset he usually is, having serious self-image issues ("I was simply Ledger Kale, doohickey-destructo boy less-than extraordinaire") plus a developing relationship with Sarah Jane Cabot, a tricksy lass and budding journalist who has found out much too much about the varied magical abilities of Ledger and his Savvy clan. The author shows off her gift for well-turned phrases (a yarning relative dishes out "super-sized servings of deep fried baloney"), but she spins out the true nature of Ledger's savvy and his character-building struggles to "scumble" (control) it through a long series of labored crises. Not as much fun the second time around. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 July #3

Law follows her Newbery Honor-winning debut, Savvy, with a look at another family in which "thirteenth birthdays were like time bombs." It's been nine years since Mibs Beaumont's tumultuous 13th, and the spotlight now finds her cousin Ledge Kale. Ledge's "savvy"--inadvertently (and explosively) dismantling objects--has just hit, disastrously, when his family must travel from Indiana to Wyoming for a wedding. The setting allows Law to revisit the wacky clan, from Ledge's Uncle Autry, a sort of insect whisperer, and Autry's twin daughters, Marisol and Mesquite, who can levitate things up and down, left and right, "like two knobs of an Etch A Sketch." However, Ledge's talent is "as useless as a pogo stick in quicksand," so it's up to Mibs's brother Rocket to mentor him on "scumbling," a finesse move that turns problem savvies into assets. Rocket and Ledge both have romantic entanglements, and although Ledge's is unconvincing, it figures prominently in the plot. The story's chief appeal lies in Law's talents as a yarn-spinner, and the worth-repeating message about making peace with who you are. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 September

Gr 4-7--In this rollicking companion novel to Savvy (Dial, 2008), nine years have passed since Ledger Kale's cousin Mibs turned 13 and began her magical experience. Since he was a young boy, Ledge knew his family was unlike others, with each member gaining an unusual and often unpredictable power, called a savvy, upon turning 13. He hoped that his would enable him to be supersonically swift and race marathons with his dad. Unfortunately, it seems just to entail breaking things. When the Kales travel to Wyoming for a wedding, Ledger's newly found savvy wreaks havoc upon the ceremony and its guests and levels the barn on his Uncle Autry's farm. The disaster has an unwelcome witness, Sarah Jane Cabot, daughter of a wannabe-reporter and local businessman. As Ledge's savvy grows by monumental and ever more destructive proportions, his family decides that he needs to stay on his uncle's farm until he learns to scumble (control) it, and he fears he'll be condemned to stay there forever. Ledge's need to scumble is a race against time before Sarah Jane figures out the family's peculiar secrets, or her father follows through with foreclosing of the family farm. Law's vibrant storytelling and cast of likable characters will keep readers hooked throughout. The title stands alone in its fast-paced plot with twists and turns galore, and readers familiar with Savvy will eat it up and wish for more.--Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA

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