Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
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.