By the Grace of Todd by Louise Galveston

By The Grace of Todd

By the Grace of Todd by Louise Galveston
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Length: Full (241 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rated: 2.5 stars
Review by Poppy

Twelve-year-old Todd has created life through sheer grossness.
How did he become an accidental god?

Ingredient A: A worn athletic sock
Ingredient B: Dirt from the Great and Powerful Todd himself

Instructions: Leave under bed for months. Do not clean room.

Yields: 50 ant-sized Toddlians

BUT WATCH OUT! When school bully Max Loving puts the future of the tiny Toddlians in jeopardy, Todd will have to do everything in his power to save the race his very negligence created.

Fans of adolescent humor may enjoy this book.

Todd, a slovenly six-grade boy, discovers a whole new race of tiny beings created in the filth of an overdue-for-a-wash gym sock when he’s ordered by his mother to clean his room. Thus begins our introduction to the Toddlians, who are sure Todd is their deity.

While I appreciated the author’s silly sense of humor and relatively realistic view of middle school, as a mother I was frustrated by Todd’s disrespect for his mom and overall lazy behavior. That said, I do think the targeted age group might be more into the story and won’t see the nuances an adult might.

It addresses bullying from nearly the first paragraph while Todd and his friend, Duddy, are having a funeral for the hermit crab that died due to Todd neglecting to care for it. Honestly, Todd all but forgot he even had a pet to care for. So, he’s an unlikely caretaker for an entire race of tiny people and it’s a fun set up. Max Loving, the non-aptly named bully, is an incredibly nasty villain and I do wish he’d been a bit more redeemable.

Again, the way the bullying is addresses will likely be uproarishly funny to the middle graders who read this book, but I wish it had involved a bit less retaliation (do we really want to teach kids that is how to deal with a bully?).

The author does have skill with description and creating characters and I can’t fault her writing. I think this is a book many kids will like (especially boys, which is likely the targeted audience), adults will potentially enjoy and something that certainly will open up some conversations about bullying, which is never a bad thing.

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