Literary Criticism and Significance

First-time novelist Ingrid Law says that in writing Savvy, she hoped to create a modern American tall tale, a story rooted in the American tradition of tall tales like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed, yet also thoroughly modern and believable.Based on the many awards and mainly positive reviews Savvy has received, Law certainly succeeded in creating an engaging, magical, modern American story.Savvy was selected as a 2009 Newbery Honor book as well as a Publisher’s Weekly book of the year and a choice for the NBC Today Show’s Al Roker Book Club for children.In addition, Savvy was a New York Timesbest seller.

In a review for School Library Journal, Elizabeth Bird praises Law’s impeccable feel for characters and language and adds that the book's “delightful premise and lively adventure” will appeal to a large audience rather than only to fans of fantasy fiction.Bird does say the story never quite achieves the “brilliance” promised by its opening chapter, but she ends by judging Law a writer to look out for.Reviewing Savvy forPublisher’s Weekly, Sarah Mlynowski calls the book an incredibly “engaging” story about an ordinary girl whom young readers will easily relate to.Mlynowski adds that, while the book focuses on Mibs’s quest to find her voice, the author “has definitely found hers.”As the reviewer says, Law’s mixture of traditional language and American vernacular helps her create a story “both fresh and timeless.”Finally, Mlynowski praises the author’s ability to craft a satisfying conclusion without resorting to the easy, unrealistic “happily-ever-after” of a fairy tale.In a review for Booklist, Francisca Goldsmith praises Law’s imaginative use of language, her exciting storytelling, and her “whacky, yet believable characters” that come together to create a novel that is engaging, delightful, and “lots of fun.”Finally, Kirkus Reviews lauds the author’s “fertile imagination” and her ability to create unusual, memorable, yet still believable and relatable characters.