The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs
Betty G. Birney (Juvenile Fiction)
“Sometimes extraordinary things begin in ordinary places” and, according to 11-year old Eben McAllister, there is absolutely, positively NO place more ordinary than Sassafras Springs. On this particularly hot July day, while Eben is buried in his book about the Seven Wonders of the World, his father offers him a deal: find seven Wonders in seven days in Sassafras Springs and he will buy Eben a ticket to Colorado. SEVEN? Eben can’t imagine even finding ONE Wonder let alone seven. But with a ticket out of town on the line, Eben is ready, willing, and able to look just about anywhere and everywhere to find them.
With folksy, down-home dialogue and quirky, lovable characters, Birney makes even an ordinary saw, a worn-down table, and a waterlogged bookcase true Wonders. Her story is like a tall glass of cold lemonade and the best spot on the front porch: refreshing, pleasing, and thoroughly enjoyable. I found it bittersweet when I came to the last page of this book. Having to say goodbye to Eben, his trusty dog, Sal, and the folks of Sassafras Springs was akin to leaving home for the first time. But as Eben reminds us, when Columbus and Balboa set off to discover faraway lands, even they knew that it wasn’t “goodbye”, just “see you soon”.
I hope this little gem encourages readers to discover or rediscover the treasure that lies right outside their own doorstep, for sometimes the biggest Wonders are right in our own backyard.
* Book cover image attributed to www.fab.lexile.com