I finished Scumble this weekend, Ingrid Law’s sequel to Savvy. Both are quirky, delightful, and timeless books about growing up. I happen to prefer Savvy to Scumble, perhaps because I read it first, or perhaps because I empathize more with Mibs than with Ledger.
Savvy introduces Mibs Beaumont and her unusual family. The Beaumont kids all come into their savvies, or special talents, on their thirteenth birthdays. Mibs is on the cusp of her birthday and discovering her savvy when disaster strikes and her father ends up in the hospital. Determined to help her father, Mibs sets off on a road trip with unexpected companions and unexpected consequences, learning along the way that there is more to herself and other people than can be seen on the surface.
Scumble is the story of Mibs’s younger cousin, Ledger, as he too hits the fateful age of 13. His savvy seems like a disaster at first but as he learns to scumble, or obscure, his talent from the world his true abilities come together in spectacular fashion.
Who doesn’t wish for a special power at some point as a kid? (Or as an adult?) The magic of Law’s books, though, is that her character’s talents are unpredictable and unique, as large as the ability to move mountains or as seemingly irrelevant as the ability to catch radio broadcasts out of midair. “Seemingly” is the key word here. In Law’s books there is always more depth to people than expected and her characters learn that it is our quirks and small talents – and how we use them – that make each of us truly special.
(Law herself has a talent – a savvy! – for picking marvelous, folksy, evocative words to title her books. And, thanks to Savvy, I now think of that extra pack of marshmallows in the pantry as our “emergency marshmallows,” for use in case of banged knees and hurt feelings.)
In other news, I’m starting a new doll quilt. This set of prints reminds me a bit of Mibs’s world – actually, more her mother’s than hers, I think. Midwestern wildflowers? I will post pictures as it comes together.