On the heels of "Any Which Wall" which was a somewhat drawn out read for me, through no fault of the book or author, but rather my nagging personal life, I picked up another book. Y Laurel Snyder, "Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains.". As I sometimes/always do, I studied the cover. And I thought, "eh.". The cover art didn't speak to me, didn't draw me in, but I had made a commitment to read each of Laurel Snyder's books, saving Penny Dreadful for last, since that cover art did appeal to me. And, not actually last, as a Random House rep did contact me today to get the shippingnaddress for Bigger Than a Breadbox which will technically be last. So, all this to say that you really should not judge a book by its cover, or even the description. When I read the inside jacket flap, I decided this book may find the main character having an adventure similar to the one we read about in The Phantom Tollbooth. And there were some similarities, but this book stands out on it's own. Now, I am a relatively fast reader, but even this was faster than normal. I finished "Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains" in two days, without breaking a sweat. Actually that last part is not at all true. I DID break a sweat. I brought the book with me to the gym and read while using the elliptical machine and the treadmill and stayed on longer than I normally might have because I did. not. want. to. put. it. down. So look at that, this book is good for your health too! Once again, Laurel Snyder uses her voice as an author to speak directly to the reader in asides and even defines tricky words when warranted in plain terms. She also incorporates her knack for poetry as she includes verse for the main character, Lucy, who often breaks out in song. Lucy is a strong character, supported by her best friend Wynston (who happens to be a prince, though that's not really his fault). The two find their own individual and joint adventures up and (as the title suggests) down the Scratchy Mountains.
My favorite quote can be found on page 106:
"I've never bben here before, if that's what you mean. But I'm not sure that not having been someplace is quite the same as not belonging."
Keep this in mind as we welcome new students to our schools this fall.