Me and Marvin Gardens
by A.S. King
Grades 4 & up
Obe is having a really hard sixth grade year. He is watching the fields around his house, which used to belong to his family, be turned into new housing subdivisions. His former best friend Tommy has gone off with the new kids from those houses. He gets nose bleeds all of the time, thanks to Tommy. The one person that he is kind of friendly with is also tormented by Tommy and his new friends. Just when things seem their worst, he finds an unexpected friend. Down by the creek, Obe discovers a new type of animal that eats plastic. He names it Marvin Gardens (an ironic jab at his father’s obsession with Monopoly). Marvin Gardens is exceptionally friendly and Obe enjoys spending time with him, until he starts worrying about Marvin’s safety. He knows he must find a a way to protect this new creature, but how?
I was particularly impressed with the realistic reactions of the adults and the children in this book. No one is perfect and their flaws are accurately presented. It also makes an important statement about our environment and what we are doing to the world we live in, without being too heavy handed. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.