Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Secret of Ferrell Savage by J. Duddy Gill

The Secret of Ferrell SavageFerrell and Mary have been best friends since they were in diapers, and they're each entering the annual sledding race. Mary's "sled" is an old sink, and Ferrell decides to use a beat-up lawn chair. Ferrell doesn't win, but he becomes famous for the most spectacular wipe-out. Later, the boy who actually won the race enrolls at the school and seems to be angry with Ferrell. This boy says he knows a terrible secret about Ferrell and Mary's ancestors that could devastate their lives. He later learns that a long time ago, his ancestor survived a journey across the mountains by eating the other people with him. The new boy says he won't tell everyone about the cannibalism if Ferrell will race again. However, Ferrell doesn't know this race will be held on the most dangerous hill around. Even skiers won't go down it. Is it worth the risk to keep his family's history a secret? Maybe not, but is it enough to save Mary's secret?

The focus of the story was unusual, but it kept my interest. A huge sled race for kids that had the whole town talking for days was strange. Ferrell's principal even asked him to visit a first-grade classroom, because her son wanted him for Show and Tell. The idea of Ferrell's relative being a cannibal was a little gross, but Mary's connection to it added an unexpected twist. I liked how Ferrell was naive and how others had to explain things to him. It gave him an innocence that was easy to like, but he also was brave to stand up for Mary. I enjoyed it!

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