Title: Fuzzy Mud
Written by: Louis Sachar
Published by: Bloomsbury
A story of friendship, bullying, secrets – and toxic, itchy awful fuzzy mud. Everyday Tamaya and seventh-grader Marshall walk to school together. When they arrive at school they stop talking to each other – Marshall can’t be seen with a little kid like Tamaya, especially not with Chad around – Chad the bully, who makes Marshall’s life utterly miserable. But one day, Marshall and Tamaya take a detour through the woods to avoid Chad… And what awaits them is strange, sinister and entirely unexpected.
This novel is a gripping, heart-warming tale about the struggle for survival. Tamaya wants to be good but does not understand when the rules changed and it was good to be bad. She has to fight against peer-pressure to be more rebellious. Marshall has to overcome his fear of Chad, the school bully, and is surprised when he finds out the reason why Chad has been picking on him. Together all three must use all their courage and determination to save the whole town. Tamaya proves herself to be brave, regardless of her small stature and the detrimental effects of the fuzzy mud.
Louis Sachar is an expert at showing, not telling. I love how he uses imagery and dialogue within the story, so the reader can use their own imagination to fill in the gaps. I also like the way the micro-organism cell replication is pictorially represented in the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.
The novel is left open-ended, with hints of a sequel… or maybe this is just my own wishful thinking!
This book review was previously published on the online Armadillo Children’s Book Review Magazine.