Written by Louis Sachar
Chad is a bully. No reason, he just is. So when he challenges Marshall to a fight after school, Marshall has no choice but to find a different way home. Every day he and Tamaya walk to and from school together, not causing anyone any trouble. They follow the sidewalk until the day they are threatened. Then they cut through the woods.
Readers will be spell-bound by this mystery-thriller that tests the strength of friendship as well as the price for doing the right thing.
Their encounter with foul smelling, fuzzy mud twists the plot into the larger realm of bio-disaster. Factory runoff causing swelling, rashes and who knows what all, opens discussions of ecology, but not until this story is concluded.
Teachers, parents and librarians will enjoy reading this book and discussing it with classes from grade three readers beyond for months to come. The book will fulfill core curriculum standards in the areas of literature, science, and social studies. More importantly, it will give everyone a chance to think about friendships, bullies, doing the right thing, and taking ecology seriously. Be very careful about stepping into any fuzzy mud, my friends, very careful.