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.
I never heard of this disorder. It’s hard to think what the experience would even be. This sounds like a really fun story. Love the title too.
This books sounds fascinating! And I also had never heard of this disorder. Definitely want to give this a read! It sounds so imaginative as well.
I’d never heard of this “disorder.” But I’m thinking that it’s more of an advantage. I’d love to be able to hear and see a person’s voice. This sounds like an exciting read for kids and for me, too.
You had me at “You’ll also never look at chewed gum in the same way.” This sounds delightful. I will put it on my TBR. Thanks for the review.
This sounds like my kind of story. Never heard of synesthesia. But, I do like that it is used in fantasy where everyone has synesthesia. This is a different twist!
There are more and more books regarding synesthesia, the most famous of which are probably the Noisy Paint Box and MangoShaped Space. I think it’s interesting to make the mc from another world. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. Thanks.
Thanks for the other titles. I hadn’t heard of either but will check into them for comparison sake.
Such an interesting twist on Jack and the Beanstalk — not just the wormhole to Earth, but also, of course, the synesthesia. I’ve only heard about this condition once or twice before, but now I want to do more research.
How about one of your animal characters with synesthesia? It could bring some interesting story lines. Thanks for visiting.
It sounds like a great spin on the traditional Jack in the Beanstalk tale! I never would have thought of the “Jack” character ending up on earth, instead of leaving it.
I’ve always been intrigued by synesthesia! How cool to incorporate it into a MG novel!