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.
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.
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