08 August 2013

What We Found in the Sofa and How it Saved the World

What we Found in the Sofa and How it Saved the World
by Henry Clark
Little Brown & Company

I know, you're probably starring wide-eyed at your computer in utter shock that I'm actually writing a book review.  It's shocking to me as well.  Let's see if my old brain* can remember how to compose a thoughtful, coherent book review...here goes!

cover art courtesy of Follett Titlewave.com
Three friends, River, Freak and Fiona, wait together for the bus every morning.  One day they find a sofa at their bus stop.  They can't figure out where it came from, but they're curious.  They decided to search the couch for lost change and they find a few interesting items: a double-six domino, a double headed coin, and a rare zucchini colored crayon.  They discover that the crayon is actually worth quite a bit of money and decided to auction it off online.  And thus begins their adventure, where they discover that their seemingly dying town of Cheshire and the now "dead"area of Hellsboro are actually the center of an evil genius' plot to  take over the world. Along the way they learn about each other - until now their friendship has been somewhat superficial - and themselves and how living on the edge of Hellsboro has shaped their lives and brought them to this exact moment.
The story line is creative, and Clark embeds so much learning in the book - everything from chemistry to history - and he does it seamlessly.  Young readers will learn so much from this book without knowing they're learning.  I can see students wanting to learn more about various subjects because of this book.

I truly enjoyed this book. I stumbled across it thanks to Amazon.  During my first year working in an elementary library, I realized that my library is focused on books for beginning readers (k-2) and intermediate readers (5th & 6th grade).  My poor 3rd & 4th graders have very little they can read in the library.  So this summer I concentrated on trying to find books that fit their needs.  What We Found is almost one of those books.  I'd say this book is about perfect for 4th grade or an advanced 3rd grade reader.  It covers all the difficult topics: being bullied, feeling left out, trying to fit in, and doing the right thing. And it covers all these topics with equal parts of humor and brevity.  I would recommend this book for just about any student 4th through 6th grade, and for their parents - it would be a great dinner conversation piece.

Happy Reading!

*Totally typed "brian" there.  Yep, my brian (brain) is officially old.

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