Parents' Guide to

Me and Marvin Gardens

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Sensitive boy vs. subdivision, bullies in coming-of-age gem.

Me and Marvin Gardens Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 8+

Great for a read aloud idea!

I am currently reading this out loud with my third grader. Though my kiddo is an avid reader on their own, I still read with them at night as routine. My child and I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. We are almost done with it, so not sure how it ends... but so far it has been very enjoyable & has important messages of varying topics. The topics are current, relevant, important, and create meaningful discussion with my kiddo. Everything from our environmental crisis, land usage, family dynamics, friendship, bullying, peer pressure, self confidence, appropriate/inappropriate interactions with others, "coming of age" related themes, responsible reporting, and just the sweet existence of Marvin Gardens.... I have enjoyed this book, so has my 8 year old, and they will be using it for their monthly book report. I recommend for educators to use as well. Many topics that could create for healthy class discussion (upper elementary to early middle school would probably be best). Read it!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Contemporary tale on urban sprawl and pollution

My 10yo son and I enjoyed reading this together. It had great messages about our planet, recycling, pollution and being outside. It also broached issues of bullying, being yourself and giving kids a powerful voice that they can do something. Was kinda slow toward the beginning, but we enjoyed reading it overall.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

This story about a boy and his (not quite) dog has an unusual fantasy element, is environmentally themed, and is narrated with pinpoint emotional honesty by a refreshingly thoughtful, sensitive boy. Just like the odd hybrid animal portrayed, Me and Marvin Gardens is an unusual mix, a contemporary coming-of-age story with a dash of the fantastic, all confidently handled by author Amy Sarig King. Obe's an eminently likeable narrator with an irresistible kid voice that carries the reader easily along. And though he’s on the "right" side of every hot topic issue -- conservation, sexual consent -- other characters argue different points of view, thus encouraging readers to think critically and enter into debate.

King finds fictional ways to weave larger facts about the environment into the story, and make connections to American history. She's said that this book was a labor of love, giving her a chance to express feelings she herself had growing up in a rural area bulldozed into a suburb, and her connection's evident, making this gem truly shine.

Book Details

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