This unusual and fun story features a boy with a neurological condition know as synesthesia. It’s estimated four percent of the population have this rare ability where two or mores senses combine. A person with synesthesia might not only hear my voice but also see it, taste it, or feel it. I had on the job learning a few years ago in my classroom when a student with synesthesia provided many interesting demonstrations.
Jaq is the boy in the story and although he lives on another planet (Yipsmix), he soon travels through a wormhole to earth. His purpose is one that brings heart and humor to the tale. There’s plenty of tension and some rather nasty critters who may have you itching while you read. Most of all you’ll enjoy a magical story which portrays a real way of thinking.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 256
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Every resident of the planet Yipsmix has synesthesia—they don’t just hear sounds; they see and taste them, too. On this unusual planet, poor Jaq Rollop must save his family’s farm. To do so, Jaq is forced to sell his beloved pet and only friend. Trusting and naive, Jaq gets swindled into trading his pet for a seemingly worthless key. But then something very strange happens. The key leads Jaq through a wormhole to a terrifying and magical land full of riches, overwhelming sensations, and giants. The name of this frightening land? Earth.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE BOY WITH 17 SENSES by SHEILA GRAU
- Wippers and freasels are the two creatures introduced from this planet. One is a pest and the other a friend. They combine to help bring a happy ending.
- The idea there is a planet where the inhabitants only come up to our mid-calf is a marvelous touch. Watch where you walk!
- A futuristic twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. Adventure with a fairy tale like quality.
- Jaq is an honest boy who tries his hardest to remain good and make things right. He’s a hero we should all try to be like.
- The 31 chapters are short enough to read out loud. You’ll also never look at chewed gum in the same way.
FAVORITE LINES: Going though the wormhole was just as terrible as Jaq knew it would be. The pain in his head and the ripping-apart sensation were even worse this time. He landed on the soft Earth soil, unable to breathe. It felt like he’d gotten the wind knocked out of him, been trampled by a herd of gows, and then had every limb yanked to its breaking point. He hurt all over, and not just because he was covered in moaning wippers.
AUTHOR QUOTE: As a rhetorical device, writers use synesthesia when they describe one sense in terms of another. For example, when a voice is be described as “sweet as honey” we are using one sense (taste) to describe another (hearing). Colors don’t have a temperature, but we describe some as “cool,” using an adjective normally assigned to physical touch to describe something we see. When someone describes a “loud shirt,” we don’t picture a talking shirt, but one that has a vibrant, colorful pattern.
For more about Sheila, her books, and a great video on Synesthesia visit her web site.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.