Galveston, Louise. By the Grace of Todd
February 27th 2014
Todd's room is such a mess that when he sees a spark flying from a dirty sock, he is concerned that spontaneous combustion might be occurring, so he consults his homeschooled neighbor, Lucy. The two discover that the dirt in Todd's room has given rise to a race of tiny beings the size of ants, who live off of Todd's skin flakes and other detritus. In order to keep the evil Duddy and the even more evil Max from bullying him, Todd agrees to let Max have the Toddlians for a science fair project, and joins Max's Zoo Crew in order to keep an eye on them. Being in Max's possession is difficult for the Toddlians, who would rather be back home. Todd and Lucy need to work together to keep both the Toddlians and themselves out of Max and Duddy's clutches.
Strengths: This had some good moments-- Todd's dad is a nurse and his mother is an out of work music teacher, Lucy lives in her own strange world but helps Todd out when he needs it, and the Toddlians are a fun race, somewhat like The Borrowers.
Weaknesses: This fell on the elementary side of the Pilkey line for me, with the repeated descriptions of skin flakes and other grossness. The bullying aspect of the story took away a lot of the pleasure of the tiny race of people, and I could never figure out exactly how big they were. Ant sized, or when they stand up in a match box, almost that tall? This would be an excellent addition to an elementary library, but I think I'll pass, since I can't get Bunting's The Lambkins to circulate.