- Fizzy Thoughts: The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
Reif Larsen
May 2009
352 pages

This book is gorgeous. Although the story, while different, ends up being a little disappointing. However, that's easily forgiven, considering all the goodies that accompany the story.

T.S. (short for Tecumsah Sparrow) Spivet is a 12 year old mapmaker. He lives on a remote ranch in Montana with his absent-minded scientist mother, his reticent father and his wanna-be-an-actress older sister. T.S. is obsessed with mapping everything, from corn-shucking to the sewer system of Washington, D.C. And he's good at it. Aided and abetted by his mentor, Dr. Yorn, he even illustrates for the Smithsonian.

When the Smithsonian calls to inform T.S. that he has received a prestigious award, T.S. initially blows them off. Because he is, after all, only 12. And they don't realize that he's only 12. However, after pondering it for a bit, T.S. decides to go for it. So he packs up his most beloved treasures and hits the road. Or more accurately, the railroad.

On his way to Washington, D.C. T.S. has a few odd encounters. He may or may not pass through a wormhole, he discovers some old family history, and something dangerously weird happens in Chicago. Then he arrives in Washington and it gets even weirder. There's a secret society, lots of lies, and not much opportunity for match-making. And then, voila. A pretty anti-climatic ending.

However. The book is full of T.S.'s maps and asides. Almost every page has a drawing (or two or three) in the margin, complete with explanations. It's like illustrated footnotes, only on the side, not at the bottom. And the drawings are really good (and also done by the author). You can get a small taste of them at Nonsuch Book, which is where I first heard of this book.

I've decided that this is a book that needs to be shared, so I'm going to give it away. However, because it is an oversized, somewhat hefty hardback, I'm afraid I'm limiting this one to the US. Sorry. :-( Also, if you hate footnotes, please don't enter, because I can pretty much guarantee this book would drive you batty. However, if you love footnotes, YA, and/or illustrated books (in pencil...there's no color in this one), (and you live in the US), then please, let me know in the comments that you are interested and I will draw a name later this week. And no, I don't know when...just later this week some time...when I feel like it.

11 comment(s):

Heather J. said...

ooh ooh ooh! me me me! please enter me! I've been wanting this book since I first heard of it. It would be such fun to read with Kiddo - he loves footnotes and asides as much as I do.

PS. I hate being the first commenter ... #1 never wins anything. (I know, stop my whining, right?! ~LOL~)

regularrumination said...

This book sounds like something I'd love. Please enter me!!

Chris said...

I would love to win this one! I was drawn to it as soon as I saw the cover...I think it's great. And it's all about maps? Seriously? I need to read this one! Great review Jill :)

Ti said...

Don't enter me. I won this book and just wanted to say that it IS a gorgeous book and looks very nice sitting on my coffee table right now.

wordlily said...

I'd really love to win this one. I think it sounds great.

colleen said...

So excited to see this review! (Too bad about the anti-climactic ending, though.) I saw this book last weekend, and couldn't resist buying it. I love illustrated books. :)

Eva said...

I've never heard of this one, but now I totally want to read it! :p So enter me in the giveaway please.

Care said...

Please consider this comment as my entry in your book giveaway! It sounds fun - I love maps AND footnotes.

Ali said...

I love footnotes and I love the cover! And as a bonus, if I win you don't have to ship the book to me because I fully intend on seeing you this summer one way or another.

Heather, I've had #1 win on two of my contests. :-)

Beth F said...

You got my interest. I'd love to win a copy. It looks well worth seeing in person.

Joanne said...

This looks like something I'd totally love! Footnotes and illustrations both - awesome!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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