Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King

Published by Arthur A. Levine Books

Summary:  11-year-old Obe is struggling to find his way through sixth grade.  His family’s land has been sold to developers, taking away the cornfield he and his best friend Tommy used to play in.  And Tommy’s turned on him, hanging out with the new development kids, who make fun of Obe for cleaning up the creek near his house.  Then one day, Obe sees an animal that’s a little like a dog, a little like a pig, but definitely different from either one.  Strangest of all, this animal eats plastic.  Obe names him Marvin Gardens, and the two secretly become friends.  Marvin’s one fault is his toxic poops, and they end up getting Obe into some trouble with the neighborhood kids.  Obe has to figure out whom he can trust among his family, friends, and teachers as he prepares to reveal the secret of Marvin Gardens.  256 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  An environmental story with a likable protagonist, who figures out some things about his family, growing up, and himself, as he works to help his new friend and protect an unknown new species.

Cons:  The many problems resolved themselves a little to neatly in the last couple of chapters.

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