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The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–A literary folk story blending down-home narrative and characters with a sprinkling of magical realism. It is a tale of transformation, of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, of the wonderful things that can happen anywhere to anyone. In Sassafras Springs, MO, in the summer of 1923, Eben McAllister, 11, is fascinated by the Seven Wonders of the World. Pa assures him that there are marvels right under his nose. In fact, the man challenges him to find Seven Wonders in seven days in Sassafras Springs. If Eben can do so, his father will buy him a ticket to visit his cousins in Colorado where he'll be able to see a mountain. On the first day, Eben hears the story of his Sunday school teacher's applehead doll, which saved the woman's life when she was very sick as a child. Then there's the wonder of an old saw that, when played, allows Calvin Smiley to grow more food than anyone around. Cully Pone's bookcase used to belong to a rainmaker who was seeking revenge when he ended a drought but didn't get paid by the town; it has saved a man's life, held the secrets of the universe, and now holds up Cully's house. Most certainly this is a wonder. Eben completes his quest in this old-fashioned tale that could have been set in Bill Brittain's Coven Tree (The Wish Giver [HarperCollins, 1983]). Black-and-white sketches enhance the text and its folksy character. Perfect for reading aloud.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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Gr. 3-6. "I was only looking for big things . . . but a small thing can be a prize too." That's the transparent theme of Eben McAllister's search for local wonders. The year is 1923, and Eben, who lives on a farm in Missouri, longs for marvels like those in his Seven Wonders of the World book. His father challenges him to find local wonders to rival the famous ones. If Eben can gather seven wonders in seven days, his will earn a train ride to visit relatives in the Colorado mountains. He ekes out time from daily chores to visit the neighbors, each of whom shares a wonder and tells a story. The tall tales are a bit heavy on message and cliche (the mayor, who was a naughty child, "saw the light" and learned that he should use his energy to help folks), but the magical realism of the episodic wonders--an outhouse flying in a cyclone, a musical saw that fends off crop-eating locusts--and Eben's empathetic father and aunt provide grist for a solid read-aloud. Phelan's black-and-white illustrations are a charming accompaniment. Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.