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Fuzzy Mud
Cover of Fuzzy Mud
Fuzzy Mud
From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holes, winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with...
From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holes, winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with...
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  • From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holes, winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with the issues of friendship, bullying, and the possibility of ecological disaster, this novel will intrigue, surprise, and inspire readers and compel them to think twice about how they treat others as well as their environment.

    Be careful. Your next step may be your last.
    Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

    In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.
    Read by Kathleen McInerney with Mark Bramhall, Jesse Bernstein, Robertson Dean, Kimberly Farr, Stephen Hoye, John H. Mayer, Adenrele Ojo, Samantha Quan, Allyson Ryan, Bruce Turk, and Louis Sachar

Excerpts-

  • From the cover 1

    Tuesday, November 2

    11:55 a.m.

    Woodridge Academy, a private school in Heath Cliff, Pennsylvania, had once been the home of William Heath, after whom the town had been named. Nearly three hundred students now attended school in the four-story, black-and-brown stone building where William Heath had lived from 1891 to 1917, with only his wife and three daughters.

    Tamaya Dhilwaddi's fifth-grade classroom on the fourth floor had been the youngest daughter's bedroom. The kindergarten area had once been the stables.

    The lunchroom used to be a grand ballroom, where elegantly dressed couples had sipped champagne and danced to a live orchestra. Crystal chandeliers still hung from the ceiling, but these days the room permanently smelled of stale macaroni and cheese. Two hundred and eighty-nine kids, ages five to fourteen, crammed their mouths with Cheetos, made jokes about boogers, spilled milk, and shrieked for no apparent reason.

    Tamaya didn't shriek, but she did gasp very quietly as she covered her mouth with her hand.

    "He's got this superlong beard," a boy was saying, "splotched all over with blood."

    "And no teeth," another boy added.

    They were boys from the upper grades. Tamaya felt excited just talking to them, although, so far, she had been too nervous to actually say anything. She was sitting in the middle of a long table, eating lunch with her friends Monica, Hope, and Summer. One of the older boys' legs was only inches away from hers.

    "The guy can't chew his own food," said the first boy. "So his dogs have to chew it up for him. Then they spit it out, and then he eats it."

    "That is so disgusting!" exclaimed Monica, but from the way her eyes shone when she said it, Tamaya could tell that her best friend was just as excited as she was to have the attention of the older boys.

    The boys had been telling the girls about a deranged hermit who lived in the woods. Tamaya didn't believe half of what they said. She knew boys liked to show off. Still, it was fun to let herself get caught up in it.

    "Except they're not really dogs," said the boy sitting next to Tamaya. "They're more like wolves! Big and black, with giant fangs and glowing red eyes."

    Tamaya shuddered.

    Woodridge Academy was surrounded by miles of woods and rocky hills. Tamaya walked to school every morning with Marshall Walsh, a seventh-grade boy who lived three houses down from her and on the other side of their tree-lined street. Their walk was almost two miles long, but it would have been a lot shorter if they hadn't had to circle around the woods.

    "So what does he eat?" asked Summer.

    The boy next to Tamaya shrugged. "Whatever his wolves bring him," he said. "Squirrels, rats, people. He doesn't care, just so long as it's food!"

    The boy took a big bite of his tuna fish sandwich, then imitated the hermit by curling his lips so that it looked like he didn't have any teeth. He opened and closed his mouth in an exaggerated manner, showing Tamaya his partially chewed food.

    "You are so gross!" exclaimed Summer from the other side of Tamaya.

    All the boys laughed.

    Summer was the prettiest of Tamaya's friends, with straw-colored hair and sky-blue eyes. Tamaya figured that was probably the reason the boys were talking to them in the first place. Boys were always acting silly around Summer.

    Tamaya had dark eyes and dark hair that hung only halfway down her neck. It used to be a lot longer, but three days before school started, while she was still in Philadelphia with her dad, she made the drastic decision to chop it off. Her dad took her to a very posh hair salon that he probably...

About the Author-

  • LOUIS SACHAR is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Holes, which won the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Christopher Award, as well as Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake; Small Steps, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award; and The Cardturner, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Parents' Choice Gold Award recipient, and an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book. His books for younger readers include There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, The Boy Who Lost His Face, Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series, among many others.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Obedient fifth-grader Tamaya defends a bullied classmate in the woods and encounters a strange, fuzzy mud that causes inconceivable repercussions. She may have rescued her friend from the bully--but at what cost? Beginning with the lighthearted tone of a happy fifth-grader, Kathleen McInerney's delivery changes as Tamaya's situation grows desperate. Listeners learn the true nature of the mud from excerpts of secret Congressional hearings, replicated in the style of actual hearings, with a full cast of senators, witnesses, and the whispered asides of the attending news reporter. The fear in the characters' dialogue and the tension in the narration are palpable. This is classic sci-fi, which should spark conversation on overpopulation and the concept of the greater good. Don't miss the author's note, read by Sachar himself. L.T. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine Obedient fifth-grader Tamaya defends a bullied classmate in the woods and encounters a strange, fuzzy mud that causes inconceivable repercussions. She may have rescued her friend from the bully--but at what cost? Beginning with the lighthearted tone of a happy fifth-grader, Kathleen McInerney's delivery changes as Tamaya's situation grows desperate. Listeners learn the true nature of the mud from excerpts of secret Congressional hearings, replicated in the style of actual hearings, with a full cast of senators, witnesses, and the whispered asides of the attending news reporter. The fear in the characters' dialogue and the tension in the narration are palpable. This is classic sci-fi, which should spark conversation on overpopulation and the concept of the greater good. Don't miss the author's note, read by Sachar himself. L.T. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 18, 2015
    Sachar blends elements of mystery, suspense, and school-day life into a taut environmental cautionary tale about the insatiable hunger for energy sources and the cost of not doing the right thing. Marshall’s routines at Woodridge Academy—including his daily walk to and from school with his anxious neighbor Tamaya—are upended by the arrival of blowhard bully Chad. A quiet seventh-grader, Marshall becomes a target for Chad, who challenges him to an after-school fight. Rather than suffer a beating, he and Tamaya take a shortcut through the off-limits woods and come across what Tamaya dubs “fuzzy mud,” a strange substance they don’t realize harbors great danger for them and the town at large. Amid chapters following the children’s exploits, Sachar includes transcripts of secret Senate hearings with the scientists who engineered the microorganisms that generate fuzzy mud. In a tense sequence of events, readers learn more about Marshall, Tamaya, Chad, and the peril they face. A dramatic conclusion celebrates the positive ripples of friendship and honesty, and will leave readers with much food for thought. Ages 10–up. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group.

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