The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
I grabbed this book that had just come from the publisher off the table as I left for the cabin last week. The title intrigued me and it looked to be a fairly easy middle grade read – just what I needed for this cabin trip. Turns out… I grabbed the right book at the right time. ~ Sheila
Thirteen year old Arthur Owens is having a horrible year. With the sudden accident that killed his father Arthur feels that his family is just going through the motions. When Arthur comes home one day to find that his mother has cleaned out his fathers things from their home, his mood only darkens.
It was a bitter cold day when Arthur Owens throws the brick at the Junk Man’s head. Lucky for him, the Junk Man had moved to pick something up and the brick missed his head, instead damaging his arm. It wasn’t for racist reasons. It wasn’t for the sad state of dress the Junk Man wore. Arthur had his reasons for throwing that brick but it would not be reasons that would make his mom or the judge change their mind.
With Arthur on a one way path to juvie, it is the Junk Man himself who comes up with an alternative for the judge. Arthur will work off his 120 hours of community service working for the Junk Man. Arthur will be the one who takes the rickety old shopping cart around looking for the seven moth important things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, light bulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. Arthur thinks the Junk Man is a few fries short of a happy meal, but has no choice but to do as he is told.
It isn’t long before Arthur understands that there is more to the Junk Man than one first sees. The “trash’ he is collecting has so much more meaning… a meaning that Arthur soon finds to be filled with lessons he will carry with him for the rest of his life.
I really enjoyed reading The Seventh Most Important Thing. As each item reveals it’s purpose I found myself not wanting to put the book down, wanting to know what the next item could mean. The connections Arthur makes throughout the book with class mates, teachers, his probation officer, as well as the community is a bigger vision to this story. I loved that the book appeared to have a hidden agenda…
and as I ended the read I found out what it was – and I was blown away.
I can not share that part of the story as much as I want to as I feel this is something for each reader to find out for themselves. However, never one to miss a chance to discuss a book further, I will put the info on a spoiler page for those of us who have read the book and wish to discuss it in more depth.
Over all, a Middle Grade read that will leave the reader with a little something more than they thought they were getting, and an excellent discussion book for a parent and child.
- Age Range: 10 and up
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 0760 (What’s this?)
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 8, 2015)