Me and Marvin Gardens
Me and Marvin Gardens

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Annotation: Obe Devlin spends a lot of his time cleaning up the creek that runs through what little is left of his family's once extensive farmland, and worrying about what the developers are doing nearby, and the pollution it is causing, but one day he finds a strange creature by his creek that eats plastic, and soon the animal he calls Marvin Gardens becomes his personal secret, which he believes needs to be protected from pretty much everybody.
Catalog Number: #137364
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 243 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-545-87074-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-96780-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-545-87074-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-96780-9
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016016817
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Sixth-grader Obe Devlin doesn't run with the popular crowd. He's more concerned with keeping his creek clean, finding rocks for busmate Annie Bell's collection, and not having nosebleeds all over his clothes consequence of said unpopularity. Housing developments are rapidly, and upsettingly, encroaching on the acres of land that once belonged to the Devlin family, and Obe's one friend chooses to hang with the new kids. On a routine creek visit, Obe discovers a capybaralike animal that only eats plastic, which he names Marvin Gardens. Obe keeps Marvin a secret until neighborhood vandals threaten the creature's safety, prompting Obe to tap into his Devlin fierceness and take a stand. This is acclaimed YA author King's first foray into middle-grade territory, and it's no surprise that she adeptly handles issues like bullying, compromised friendship, complex family dynamics, and the tedium of homework. Obe's connection to the land courses through the book and is firmly rooted in Devlin family history. Drawing upon the tradition of Carl Hiaasen's Hoot (2002), this eco-focused story will tug at readers' consciences and heartstrings.
Horn Book
Sixth grader Obe lives at the edge of a massive housing development being built on land that once belonged to his mother's family. One day he spies a strange creature whose favorite food is plastic and whose scat is toxic. A. S. King's middle-grade debut is a smart, environmentally conscious underdog story with a little sci-fi and a lot of heart.
Kirkus Reviews
King, who writes as A.S. King for teens, offers a mystical, fablelike tale for a younger audience.Obe (rhymes with “lobe”) has grown up on the only remaining creekside sliver of the century-plus–old Devlin family farm, most of which his great-grandfather lost to his drinking habit 100 years before, a tale that’s sketched in brief chapters that alternate with the white boy’s story. Alone by the creek, he discovers a remarkable creature, beagle-sized, hooved, and winsome. He calls it Marvin Gardens. Marvin’s most remarkable trait is what he eats—only plastic. Since his best friend betrayed him months ago, Obe has mostly been on his own, and he keeps his discovery secret, although the subdivision that’s being developed around the creek imperils Marvin’s safety. It’s only after the animal is spotted by others, then shot with a paintball, that Obe confides in a trusted and kindly teacher. Although the environmental theme is pounded home with a somewhat heavy hand, the gently nuanced fantastical elements gain a neat believability as related in Obe’s genial, observant, and sweetly introspective narrative voice. It’s just right for a sensitive sixth-grader with a growing self- and world awareness trying to navigate the troubled waters of uncertain friendships and demeaning bullying. A finely wrought, magical coming-of-age tale with a convincing message. (Fantasy. 9-14)
Publishers Weekly
Obe Devlin, 11, lost his only friend when new kids moved into subdivisions named for the things their homes displaced-Pheasant-s Nest, Oak Trail, the Orchards-on farmland that once belonged to his family. A perceptive narrator, Obe finds solace at the creek that runs through the slice of property his parents still own, which is where he first spots a strange animal whose most notable feature is his diet: plastic litter. Obe, whose father employs a win-at-all-costs strategy during family Monopoly games, names the critter Marvin Gardens but keeps him a secret-which turns out to be an especially wise move once he realizes that the animal produces highly noxious (and possibly toxic) scat. King (Still Life with Tornado) leavens a story replete with brutal environmental facts with a magical friendship between a boy and his -pretty gross pet.- A provocative exploration of human action and interaction on both local and global levels, as well as the interplay between past, present, and future, King-s novel will leave readers pondering how we treat each other and the planet. Ages 8-12. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Jan.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 3&11;7&12; Eleven-year-old Obe Devlin lives in the Pennsylvania farmhouse his family built 100 years ago. Unfortunately, his great-great-grandfather mortgaged more and more of the acreage that surrounded the house to pay for his alcohol addiction. On the small portion of land on which the house sits runs a creek surrounded by a wild area. In the habit of picking up trash from the creek, Obe comes across what he is sure is a new species of animal&12;a creature with a snout like a boar's, a body and tail like a dog's (yet with no fur or hair), and slimy algaelike skin. Marvin Gardens, Obe's name for the creature because of his dad's love of the board game Monopoly, eats only plastic. Obe soon discovers his new friend's poop may be toxic to the land on which new homes are being constructed. Intermingled with the obvious environmental message are the topics of betrayal and bullying, gender expectations, consent, and true friendship. King writes from personal experience, crafting a coming-of-age novel with a fully developed and authentic protagonist. VERDICT An emotionally rich read for a wide audience, especially those interested in keeping the planet alive and well for future generations.&12; D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Word Count: 52,335
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 187593 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 670L

The first middle-grade novel from Printz Honor-winning author Amy Sarig (A. S.) King!

Washington Post Best Book of the Year A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids A Texas Bluebonnet Master List selection

Obe Devlin has problems. His family's farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy has abandoned him. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn't like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the nearby creek, in the last wild patch left, picking up trash and looking for animal tracks.

One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags... No one has seen a creature like this before. The animal--Marvin Gardens--becomes Obe's best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything.

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