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Spud Sweetgrass
     

Spud Sweetgrass

by Brian Doyle
 

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Spud gets angry when he sees Dumper Stubbs, a creepy delivery man, dumping oil into a storm drain and causing terrible pollution in the river. When Spud blows the whistle, he loses his job. Enlisting the help of his buddy, Dink the Thinker, and Connie Pan, Spud thinks he has a chance of regaining his job . . . and stopping the Dumper's harmful activities.

Overview

Spud gets angry when he sees Dumper Stubbs, a creepy delivery man, dumping oil into a storm drain and causing terrible pollution in the river. When Spud blows the whistle, he loses his job. Enlisting the help of his buddy, Dink the Thinker, and Connie Pan, Spud thinks he has a chance of regaining his job . . . and stopping the Dumper's harmful activities.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9In this story, Spud Sweetgrass must deal with his father's death, his mother's withdrawal into grief, his expulsion from school, his new girlfriend, and a mystery about the pollution of the Ottawa River. Doyle conveys a sense of place and the cultural diversity of the Canadian city. Humorously weaving many other contemporary issues into the novel, the author paints a vivid, touching portrait of one boy's coming-of-age. Spud, nicknamed that because of his job working for Mr. Fryday on a chipwagon, is part Irish, part Aboriginal, and part lots else. He's pretty much on his own; his mother doesn't even realize he's been expelled. When the school finally calls to reinstate him, she realizes how abandoned her son has been. With grit, however, he has managed to confront a polluter, get fired then rehired, and deal with his own acute sense of loss. Doyle captures perfectly adolescent thoughts and feelings, and writes of them with humor yet tenderness. Readers will be rooting for Spud, certain he's a survivor. The very few Canadian idioms in no way affect the accessibility of the novel for U.S. readers, who are sure to clamor for more about Spud.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Kirkus Reviews
An Ottawa teenager nabs a polluter and sees a hostile teacher served justly embarrassing desserts in this offbeat farce.

Suspended from school for swearing at a contemptuous new teacher, John "Spud" Sweetgrass still has his job, selling "chips" from a curbside wagon. Smelling an all-too-familiar odor—rancid cooking oil—at a polluted beach, Spud suspiciously follows Dumper Stubbs, a slovenly delivery man who services local restaurants and chip-wagons, and witnesses him emptying oil into a storm drain. Spud blows the whistle—and loses his job. Doyle's present-tense, slapdash delivery and heavily caricatured adult characters make for a comic-book story, contrived but nonstop; from the high hilarity of a volleyball game played without net or ball, to the exciting climax, in which a vengeful Stubbs rams Spud's wagon, readers will keep turning the pages. By the end, Spud's fortunes have turned as golden as the fries he serves; his boozy and withdrawn mother turns over a new leaf, he's "unfired," back in school, a local hero with a new girlfriend, and the local newspaper runs a photo of his teacher and a bevy of strippers. Replete with laughs, tears, and twists, plus a young hero to admire and a cardboard villain to hate, this will slide down effortlessly, like all proper snacks.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554980420
Publisher:
Groundwood Books Ltd
Publication date:
09/01/1992
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Brian Doyle is a four-time winner of the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children Award. His American honors include being selected for the Horn Book's Fanfare List, the ABA "Pick of the Lists" and the New York Public Library's Best Books for the Teen Age. He has also won the NSK Neustadt Prize, the Phoenix Honor Award, and he has been named a finalist for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. He lives in Chelsea, Quebec.

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