The Hole in the Wall
Winner of the 2010 Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature
Edited by Ben Barnhart, cover illustration by Brad Norr Design.
Eleven-year-old Sebby has found the perfect escape from his crummy house and bickering family: The Hole in the Wall. It’s a pristine, beautiful glen in the midst of a devastated mining area behind Sebby’s home. But it’s not long after he’s found it that his world starts falling apart: His family’s chickens disappear, colors start jumping off the wall and coming to life, and after sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough he finds himself with the mother of all stomachaches. When Sebby sets out to solve these mysteries, he and his twin sister Barbie get caught in a wild chase through the tunnels and caverns around The Hole in the Wall—all leading them to the mining activities of one Stanley Odum, the hometown astrophysicist who’s buying up all the land behind Sebby’s home. Exactly what is Mr. Odum mining in his secret facility, and does it have anything to do with the mystery of the lost chickens and Sebby’s stomachache? The answers to these questions go much further than the twins expect.
“Seb Daniels is growing up in a despoiled landscape going haywire in a specifically twenty-first-century way. Lisa Rowe Fraustino is masterful in this tale of surreal survival.” —Richard Peck, Newbery Medal-winning author of A Year Down Yonder
A Top 10 Book
Booklist named The Hole in the Wall to their Top 10 Books on the Environment for Youth: 2011. Here’s their review:
Everything has changed for Sebby, 11, and his twin, Barbara, as they struggle with their furious, depressed, unemployed dad and with the serious physical damage to their chicken farm. Strip mining has turned the surrounding landscape into an “ashtray,” the family’s chickens disappear, and there are no fish in the brook. Wealthy local astrophysicist Stanley Odum has bought up lots of land in the area. What is he planning to do with it? After Sebby stumbles into a mysteriously green glen and a surrounding network of tunnels that allow him and Barbara to spy on mining officials and their goons, the plot twists and turns from one surprising discovery to another, and the technical details are sometimes difficult even for Sebby to follow. More than the science-fiction elements, it’s the urgent details of conservation that will pull readers, and when the issues reach right to Sebby’s home, the questions increase. His older brother has gone missing: Is he a prisoner or in secret quarantine? How is the kids’ dad involved? Winner of the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, this title will capture young environmentalists. — Hazel Rochman
Here’s a book trailer created by one of my gifted students at ECSU, Shauna Guglielmo.
One of my other gifted students gave the book to her son, who did a project on it for his class. Isn’t it wonderful?
11/17/10: Nathan Haggard: grade 5
The Hole in the Wall
The author of this book is Lisa Rowe Fraustino. The genre of this book is fantasy. This is because there are magical rocks. Also the theme is greed and family relationships. And the setting is in a town in Maine.
One of the main characters is Sebby, an eleven year boy, who is a rock collector. Also there is Barbie another main character who is Sebby’s twin. They live with Grandma and their mom and dad. Jed rarely comes into the book but he is their brother. The last main character is Boots Odum he is the person strip mining.
The problem in the story is the O.R.C., Boots’ company, is strip mining for rocks that have special scientific powers. This is a problem because the O.R.C. Company is destroying the land. In the beginning of the book Sebby finds a really cool cave made of the rocks the O.R.C. is looking for, and uses it for his hide out. And in the middle of the book a chick gets stuck to Sebby’s stomach after eating raw dough. This is because the dough is made of rock hard eggs that have been contaminated by the O.R.C. and the scientific powers got into him. The powers are magnetic to the other things that have been contaminated like the chick. It was funny because he had to wear three sweatshirts to hide the chick. At the ending the town is about to blow from the powers in the rocks. If you want to know the rest of the ending you should read the book. I have to tell you it’s a really good book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction. It has plenty of suspense and it’s an awesome novel to read.