Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 375
Challenges: none

First of all a great big Thank You goes out to Meghan because her review at Medieval Bookworm is what prompted me to buy this book. I loved it.

The Story
T.S. Spivet is a genius mapmaker. He doesn’t just make the typical atlas kind of maps. He makes maps of people doing things, of places and activities. He makes detailed drawings of animals and birds. He does all of this from his home on a remote ranch near the Continental Divide in Montana. When T.S. gets a call from the Smithsonian Museum to tell him that he’s won a prestigious award, he is stunned. First of all, he didn’t know his work had been submitted and secondly he’s only twelve years old. The folks at the Smithsonian clearly think they’re giving this award to an adult.

For a lot of reasons T.S. decides to make the trip to Washington, DC to accept the award and give a speech. He doesn’t tell the Museum representative his true age, only that he’ll be there. How he gets there is the story. T.S decides to go the hobo way and hop a freight train. He doesn’t tell his parents, but leaves them a note in the cookie jar.

His journey is not just the physical travel, but also a journey of discovery about himself, his world and of his family and what they really mean to him.

The Book
The format of this book is one of the most unique I’ve experienced. Not only is it an oversized hardcover, but the story in the pages oozes beyond the formatted paragraphs on the page. The margins are filled with drawings, maps, diagrams, pictures asides and notes. These expand on the story in the narrative and are very much a part of the narrative as told by T.S.

The Good
I loved this book! I kept reading snippets that made me laugh to The Hubster. I can’t wait for him to read it. I think he’ll enjoy it a lot. I liked T.S (which stands for Tecumseh Sparrow) Spivet a lot. He’s a genius, but still very much a twelve year old kid. At times he is incredibly naïve, and at others brilliant in his observations about people and places around him. This book made me laugh, scared me a bit in places, made me angry, and made me sad.

Not ‘the bad’ but things I think you’d want to know.
There’s really nothing nightmare inducing, but there’s some weirdness and scary stuff that happens along the way (particularly considering it’s a twelve year old kid). The book itself is not a typical both in physical dimensions and how it is presented on the page. I purposely saved this book for vacation when I knew I’d have a couple of days sitting on a couch while watching the ocean to read it. It is not a book that works for my typical reading style – in and out of my backpack and reading while waiting for and sitting on the train to and from work. I wanted to sit and curl up with this in my lap and have space to turn and tilt the book as needed to read the margin notes.

There are a couple of plotlines that are left hanging a bit, but after all, T.S is only twelve. He’s got lots of time to continue to find out the truths. Nevertheless, the story was an entertaining and unique one that does have a well done conclusion.

I highly recommend this book, but don’t expect something typical at all. See more information at the website for T.S. Spivet.

Rating 4.5/5