Sunday, October 22, 2006
Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg, 2006
Alan Silberberg's Pond Scum is full of fun and heart and is a hoot to read. Pond Scum will even tempt those nonfiction-reptile-amphipian-reading boys and girls to drop those DK Eyewitness books and try a novel for a change.
The hilarious opening chapter sees a hapless real estate agent attempting to show the old ramshackle house by the pond to some prospective buyers only to be dive bombed by every insect, bird and mammal in the area. The agent and house-hunters run for their lives. No sale!
Oliver and his sister have been uprooted from their home in the city when their newly divorced mother takes a job as a teacher in a small community. Against her better instincts, the real estate agent tries, once more, to unload the old house on this newly-arrived family. Despite what seems to be yet another organized attack on them by the local insects and animals, their mother takes a shine to the old run down house and decides to buy it.
Moving does not really bother Oliver as his only friends are television characters and his idea of a good time is watching TV and tearing the wings off house flies. School is just something else to be endured like his father's infrequent and rushed visits with him and his sister.
The lack of a television signal is making Oliver crazy though. When he attempts to install a rickety antenna on the roof, he is attacked by crows. His plummet through the roof of the house lands him in the attic where he finds a mysterious gem stone that will change his life.
The stone allows him to change form and join the animal kingdom. Unlike Narnia or Neverland, Oliver's secret new world is just outside his front door. He discovers the natural world with his new best friend, Mooch the salamander. Nature is not paradise though as the cruel and power mad crow, General Santo Domingo, is preparing to grab control of the animal Alliance and rule over all the animals of the pond.
Along with the scum and goo and slime and plenty of eewwwwww-ness, Pond Scum also considers the importance of friendship, brother-sister relationships and finding your place in the world.
I am looking forward to booktalking this novel and getting the book into the hands of my reading friends.