Synopses & Reviews
When Eben McAllister reads about the Seven Wonders of the World, he longs to escape the small farming community of Sassafras Springs and do some exploring f his own. No one else ever seems to want to leave Sassafras however -- not even his best pal, Jeb -- and so, for now, Eben figures he's stuck on the farm with Pa and Aunt Pretty until he grows up.
All that changes when his pa, tired of Eben's moping, challenges him to find Seven Wonders in Sassafras Springs that can stang up to the real Seven Wonders of the World. And if he does? Then Eben will get the adventure he's been craving for -- a trip out West. Eben doesn't reckon he'll have any luck -- he can't think of even one thing that would be called interesting, let along wonderous, in Sassafras, but he figures he'll give it a try; there's nothing else to do in Sassafras anyway.
While his mission puzzles and annoys some of his friends and neighbors, Eben perseveres, little knowing that he is in for a big surprise. For what with a singing saw, a floating table, and a truth-telling loom (just to name a few), the Wonders Eben will discover among his neighbors, friends, and family will give him the adventure of a lifetime...without his ever leaving home.
Told in a down-home narrative with glimmers of magical realism woven throughout, and illustrated with sumptuous drawings by Matt Phelan, Betty G. Birney's tale about a boy's journey of discovery reminds us all that extraordinary things can happen in the most ordinary of places...even in Sassafras Springs.
Living in his boring town, Eben McAllister begrudgingly accepts his father's challenge to locate the Seven Wonders in Sassafras in order to win the prize of a family trip to Colorado and, in the process, discovers the magic that lies within his community that he had never taken notice of before. Reprint.
Eben McAllister's pa challenges him to find seven wonders in boring and predictable Sassafras Springs that rival the real Seven Wonders of the World. Little does Eben know that what he'll discover will give him the adventure of a lifetime. Illustrations.
Life in Sassafras Springs has always been predictable, boring even, but one afternoon that changes when Eben McAllister's pa challenges him to find Seven Wonders in Sassafras that rival the real Seven Wonders of the World. The reward? An adventure that Eben's been craving -- a trip to Colorado. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Even doesn't think he'll have any luck -- he can't think of one single thing that could be considered wondrous in Sassafras -- but he's willing to try. Little does he know that the Wonders he'll discover among his neighbors, friends, relatives, and family will give him the adventure of a lifetime...without ever leaving his home.
About the Author
andlt;Bandgt;Betty G. Birneyandlt;/Bandgt; is an Emmy-winning screenwriter who specializes in live-action TV, and animation for children. She lives with her family in Studio City, California. andlt;bandgt;Matt Phelan'sandlt;/bandgt; black-and-white illustrations first appeared in andlt;iandgt;The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springsandlt;/iandgt; by Betty G. Birney. His picture books includeandnbsp;andlt;Iandgt;The New Girl...and Me andlt;/Iandgt;and andlt;Iandgt;Two of a Kind, andlt;/Iandgt;both written by Jacqui Robbins. Matt lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reading Group Guide
ABOUT THE BOOK
Twelve-year-old Eben McAllister dreams of faraway places after he reads a book about the Seven Wonders of the World. He feels doomed to stay on the farm and in his small community of Sassafras Springs until he grows up. His father challenges him to find seven wonders among his friends and neighbors in order to win a train ticket to visit a cousin in Colorado.
Wonder; Country life; Family life; Neighbors
What do you know about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Which ones would you like to be able to see?
What wonders exist in your community? How could you go about uncovering them?
Do you think you would like living in Sassafras Springs? Why or why not? If you could accompany Eben on his search for wonders, which person would you spend the most time talking to? Why?
Research the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and make a diorama to show them.
Explore your community and compile a list of the seven most interesting ones you find. Make a display with photos, stories, or models for each wonder.
Eben was rewarded for his success by being able to go to St. Louis on the train. Imagine you earned a week's vacation anywhere in the world. Plan an itinerary and research travel arrangements, housing options, and sightseeing opportunities for this trip. Make a scrapbook of this imaginary trip complete with photos, schedules, and expenses.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Arlene Wiler
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.