Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Savvy - by Ingrid Law

Mibs Beaumont anxiously awaits her 13th birthday because in the Beaumont family, that's when your savvy strikes. Her brother fish caused a hurricane on his 13th birthday, which was why they had to move to Kansaska/Nebrasas (the border between Kansas and Nebraska) while Fish learned to "scumble" (control) his power over water and the weather and Mibs' brother Rocket learned to scumble his electric current savvy.

There are all sort of savvies; Mibs Grandpa creates land and ended up creating Idaho on his 13th birthday. Her mom's savvy was being perfect. Some people had a small savvy that they weren't even aware of so they could do things like make the best jam or never get splashed by mud. Mibs hoped her savvy would be something cool like x-ray vision or the gift of flight until her dad gets in an awful car accident and ends up in the hospital in a comma.

The morning of her birthday Mibs starts the day sure that her savvy is something that will wake her papa up and save his life, if only she could get to the hospital a few hours drive away. Unfortunately, Miss Rosemary, the preacher's wife left in charge of the Beaumont children while oldest brother Rocket and their Mother are at the hospital, has other plans. She drags Mibs to a makeshift party at the church, where all of Mibs despised classmates are forced to attend.

When Mibs spots that the pink-bible salesman's bus at the church is from the same town she's trying to get to, she decides it's fate and sneaks aboard, followed by the preacher's son, Will Junior, who supports her crazy idea; Rocket, who feels responsible for Mibs; and Will's sister Bobbi who doesn't want to miss out on any trouble caused; along with Mibs younger brother Samson who was hiding on the bus.

By the time the bus driver discovers the kids, he decides he cannot turn back and still make his deliveries, so he heads on, IN THE WRONG DIRECTION! It turns out Mibs and her travel companions are in for much more of an adventure than they bargained for.

Truthfully, the storyline about the magical savvies didn't really appeal to me much, but I picked up Savvy anyway based on others' recommendations, and Ingrid Law's writing just reeled me in. Her characters were wacky, but their relationships with each other seemed powerful and real and I worried about what would happen to each of them.

Ingrid Law said, "When I started Savvy, I wanted to create a different kind of magic—one that called to mind the feel of a modern American tall-tale. I wanted to break away from the traditional tales about magic and find roots in the soil around me. What would magic look like if it sprang up in the small towns of America? And what in the world would it be called if I didn't want to call that distinctive know-how magic?"

I wouldn't quite call Savvy a tall-tale, but I could see the Beaumont family in a tall-tale of their own. It turns out that Ingrid actually did write a tall-tale explaining how the Beaumont family got their savvy and you can read it here.

The official Savvy website also provides a link to a teacher's guide to Savvy with some great discussion questions like:

  • “Perhaps Samson’s strengthening touch was just an ordinary sort
    of human magic, the kind of magic that exists in the honest, heartfelt
    concern of one person for another.” (p. 113) Explain “ordinary human
    magic” in your own words. Give another example of “ordinary human
    magic” you find in Savvy.
  • Fish and Rocket have a terrible time scumbling their savvies. How does
    this cause a ruckus for the Beaumont clan and others who know them?
    Are there any parts of your own personality that you have a difficult time
    controlling? Is it better to tone down parts of yourself so that you fit in
    society or is it more important to be yourself completely?
  • Momma warns Mibs that, “You can’t get rid of part of what makes you you
    and be happy.” (p. 186) What makes you you? How do you let that special
    part shine through?

The movie is slated for 2011 so we're sure to be hearing more about Savvy from Walden Media.


Cynthia Marie VanLandingham said...

I'm very intrigued by this article and curious about the story and Ingrid Law's writing style. I'm actually a piano teacher in Tallahassee, Florida, and I've found over many years of teaching that one of best ways to motivate young piano students is with stories. So many of my students love reading stories and art as well as music. It's a perfect way to bridge their interests and capitalize on the energy from literature and transfer it to their playing. After all, every song tells a story and draws a picture for the listener.

Children love stories, and they also are a great way to teach important lessons and motivate young girls and boys. Most young students who are starting music lessons have lots of questions, and all beginning students must learn how to develop good practice habits. My stories, Piano Bears Musical Storybooks, provide a wonderful way to inspire young piano students and help them succeed.

My books use the characters of Little Bear, who is just starting to take piano lessons, his friends and family, and Mrs. Treble Beary, his teacher. In the stories, Little Bear, with the help of his family and friends, learns how to overcome his worries and set positive goals to achieve his musical dream.

In my studio, I give these books to all new students aged six to eleven at their first piano lesson. These fun stories help my students understand what piano lessons are like, resolve their worries about starting something new, and help them begin to develop the practice routines and habits that are so critical to their success.

Piano Bears Musical Storybooks include:

1. Little Bear’s Musical Garden.

This beautifully illustrated story sets young students at ease and gives them confidence in their own ability to learn piano. The story follows Little Bear as he begins piano lessons and asks questions that all beginning students have. Children enjoy reading the storybook with their parents and grandparents, who learn great ways to encourage their children in piano.

Little Bear’s Musical Garden CD-ROM allows children to hear a narrated version of this story. The CD-ROM also includes a fun, interactive quiz that helps students remember the important story concepts that will help them succeed.

2. Little Bear’s Piano Goals.

This beautifully illustrated story continues Little Bear’s adventures as he learns how to tend to his musical garden and achieve his musical dreams. Little Bear, with the help of his family and his neighbor Mr. Green Bear, a master gardener, learns how to set and work toward the goals that will lead to his musical growth and success.

3. Piano Bear’s Musical Storybook Journal accompanies this book.

This illustrated journal provides a fun way to keep track of weekly piano assignments and goals. It also provides big keyboard pictures that make it easy for their teacher to indicate hand positions, scales, chords, and fingering. The journal also includes pages for recital photos and achievement stickers, and provides a wonderful memory book for students and their parents to keep forever. In the front of the book there is a place for student to write down their Piano Dream, or why they want to learn piano.

I offer them to all piano teachers and parents on my website, www.PianoBears.com There is a short video preview of myself narrating this book as the pages turn and students can read-along.

Thanks for the great information on your blog!

Warm regards,

Cynthia Marie VanLandingham

Anonymous said...

Oh my GOSH!! I started reading Savvy about two days ago and I just loved it... I finished it the day after I started reading it! What I really liked was how protective Ingrid Law made Fish... I would love to have an older brother who was that protective, like how he would do anything just to keep Mibs safe, I think that really added a nice family touch to it. I also liked at the end the thing about how Momma had to write the recipe on her arm and Mibs heard Momma's thoughts and she heard Momma thought that she might be pregnant.

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