Sunday, October 17, 2010

Battle of the Books: The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney

Summary: "When Eben McAllister reads about the Seven Wonders of the World, his imagination races. He's itching to escape the sameness of the small farming community of Sassafras Springs, Missouri, and explore the world. 

Then Pa challenges Eben to find Seven Wonders in his own neighborhood. The boy doubts Sassafras Springs has much to offer, but rises to the test when Pa promises him a coveted trip out west if he succeeds. While his mission puzzles his friends and neighbors, Eben perseveres, with the help of his faithful dog, Sal. Though wary at first, the members of the community are eventually enlivened by his mission and folks eagerly share their seemingly simple possessions and their eerily true tales - and some downright whoppers, as well. A haunted table ... a half-mad rainmaker ... a flying outhouse ... a loom that weaves the truth ... an evil ship in a bottle: Eben is amazed at the range of wonders he finds on his own home turf. "

I recently challenged myself to finish reading all 40 books on the Pikes Peak Area Battle of the Books list. Some of them I suspect will be a challenge, but this one was a quick and easy read.  It was a pleasure to go with Eben as he discovered the wonders right in his own back yard. Though I must admit I couldn't help but think of The Wizard of Oz. and Dorothy's own search for something wonderful.  This book is a good tie in for helping students to take a good look at their own community.  Chinook students live in an very interesting community with lots to see.  Our 4th and 5th grade students will be discussing the wonders in our own backyards.  Be sure to ask your students about it.

Recommended for ages 9 to 12.

Mrs. Archer's Rating:  5 of 5

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