Last updated Friday, February 17, 2012

Author: Ingrid Law
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0803733062
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2012

Synopsis: From School Library Journal:
Mississippi Beaumont ("Mibs" for short) simply cannot wait for her 13th birthday. There's the allure of finally becoming a teenager, of course, but in the Beaumont family, 13 is when family members get their "savvy," or unworldly power. For Mibs's older brother Fish, it's control over the elements, and for her mother it's the ability to do everything perfectly. Unfortunately, Mibs's excitement is cut short when her father is injured in a car accident. Convinced that her new powers will be able to save her Poppa, she and some new friends climb aboard a bus toting pink bibles on her birthday, in the hopes of getting to the hospital. Instead they find themselves headed in the wrong direction with the cops looking for them, Mibs's powerful brother seriously angry, and the son of a preacher man she has a crush on coming dangerously close to figuring out the Beaumonts' secret. Mibs's real savvy isn't what she expected, and neither are her traveling companions.

Note to readers:
•  Words you may need to define:
•  momentum (p. 2)
•  jujubes (p. 5)
•  broody (p. 7)
•  scumble (p. 9)
•  catastrophes (p. 17)
•  stole (p. 37)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know what the word "savvy" normally means? (shrewd, well-informed)
•  Do you think it will mean that in this book? (after they either tell you the definition of "savvy" or you explain it, then explain that in this book savvy has another meaning – a special power or magical skill)

Reading Notes
•  You can skip pp. 21-26 (Ch. 3) if you like. In that chapter we meet Bobbi, an unpleasant-seeming 17 year old and her brother Will, a cute 14 year old. They end up on Mibs' adventure in most of the book.
•  If you get low on time you can jump to bottom of pp. 50-53 for a clue about Mibs' savvy. (Just so you know, but perhaps not to tell the kids so as to keep them intrigued, Mibs' savvy is that ink on someone's skin, like a tattoo or even just a drawing, speaks to her and tells her what that person is thinking and feeling, or about that person.)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you know where Nebraska or Kansas are? (there is probably a map of the US in the classroom, and you can also use it during p. 6 to look up Idaho)
•  Have you ever wanted a special or magical power? Why?
•  Mibs wishes, at least temporarily, that her savvy could “give [her] the muscle to turn nasty girls into slimy green frogs or to glue their mouths shut tight with a nod of [her] head.” (p. 17) Why do the girls in Mibs’s class make fun of her? What would you do in her place?
•  The Beaumonts have to keep their savvies a secret from everyone. Would that be difficult for you?
•  Do you think everyone has a secret?
•  Who would you trust with your big secrets?
•  Have you ever felt shame for thinking something selfish?
•  Do you know what homeschooling is?
•  Does it make sense why Mibs and her brothers would be homeschooled?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw yourself with your own savvy you would like. You may draw yourself any where in the world, or even at your school or in this classroom.
•  Draw Mibs or one of her brothers as they are doing their savvy.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!