Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet

By: Reif Larsen
Location: FIC LAR
Genre: hmm this is tricky: Novel x Science Textbook x Art Book

I saw the movie- it was really good. It was made by the same director as "Amelie" and so it is directed from quirky  unusual angles in how it expressed the journey of T.S. Spivet.
How he speaks and expresses himself reminds me of some our the students in our school- I had a deep empathy for this young man.
The movie packed a punch- so I bought the book!

Dear Spivet Family,

I have gone for a while to do some work. Don't worry, I'll be fine. I didn't want to bother you by telling about it ahead of time. Thank you for taking care of me. You are one of the best families in the world. 

Love, T.S.



T.S. makes sense of his chaotic family life by drawing beautiful, meticulous maps kept in innumerable colour-coded notebooks. He is brilliant, and the Smithsonian Institution agrees, though when they award him a major scientific prize they don't suspect for a moment that he is twelve years old.

So begins T.S.'s life-changing adventure, travelling two thousand miles across America to reach the awards dinner, the secret-society membership and the TV interviews that beckon. But is this what he wants? Do maps and lists explain the world? And why are adults so strange?

The story is of T S (Tecumseh Sparrow) Spivet. He is something of a child prodigy, just twelve years old and already a genius mapmaker. TS lives on a ranch in Montana with his scientist Mother, his cowboy Father and his older sister Gracie. His brother Layton died earlier in the year in an incident with a shotgun - but nobody talks about Layton.

TS maps out his life with his incredible drawings - he doesn't just map places, he maps everything - the first map of the book is a diagram instructing 'how to read this book' - he maps out facial expressions, how food is prepared, areas of the house and the ranch - just about everything. 

TS receives a phonecall from the Smithsonian Institute, telling him that he has won a much coveted scientific prize - a prize much sought after by famous scientists all over the world. The Smithsonian dont know that TS is only twelve, and he decides not to tell them, but to travel across America to accept his prize.

So begins the journey. TS leaves the ranch with his precious belongings, without telling anyone and begins his journey across the country. He manages to stowaway on a freight train and spends much of the journey holed up in a new Camper that he christens and has conversations with.

TS had stolen one of his mother's notebooks as he wanted to take a piece of her. During his journey he reads the notebook, which turns out to be a history of his family, especially about his great grandmother Emma - one the first female scientists in America.

As his journey unfolds he discovers that what matters most is family, and in the end T.S Spivet is taught all he needs to learn!

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