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June 5, 2010

The Last Book in the Universe

Filed under: *AWESOME BOOKS!!!,T — thebookreviews @ 7:02 pm
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The Last Book In The Universe

Author: Rodman Philbrick

Page Length: 223

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Science Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY:  A young boy, Spaz, finds himself fending for himself in the Urb, where all the normals live, after being kicked out of his foster home for having epilepsy. Charley, his foster dad, feels that Spaz’ illness will cause harm to his foster sister, Bean. Spaz steals from Billy Bizmo, the latch boss, to get food and protection. Everyone in the Urb mindprobes but Spaz can’t because he has epilepsy and can’t put a needle into his brain. Little did Spaz know that when sent to steal from Ryter, a gummy (or old person) per orders of Billy, Spaz’ life would change forever. On the way to steal from Ryter, Spaz meets a very young boy named Little Face who leads him to Ryter’s stack. Ryter is waiting for Spaz providing all his valuables except a book that he has been writing. Spaz does not understand the importance of the book and passing down stories from the Big Shake but he lets Ryter keep it. Little Face guides Spaz through the stacks on the promise of a choxbar since Spaz has been ordered to steal more items. Spaz befriends Ryter during these robberies. Then a runner comes with bad news of his sister Bean. Spaz must get to Bean as quickly as possible. But this isn’t as easy as it may seem. Spaz must sneak out of the latch, cross two others, and reach his sister hoping to save her. Ryter helps Spaz develop a plan to travel through The Pipes to get through the latches. On their journey, Spaz meets a Proov, a genetically altered person, who is giving away edibles, Ryter saves her life at the end of one of the latches that is on fire. Lanaya, the Proov, decides to help Spaz reach his sister. So Spaz, Ryter, Little Face, and Lanaya set out in search of Bean. Once they locate her they find that she is very ill. Ryter and/or Spaz (depending upon who you ask) decide that the only way to save Bean is to take her to Eden, where the Proovs live. The only problem is that normals aren’t accepted in Eden so Lanaya has to sneak them into Eden passing through The Forbidden Zone which is full of mines. Do they make it? Do they save Bean? If so, how do they save her? What happens to Little Face? Do the Proovs accept the normals? What happens to Spaz and Ryter? What happens to the last book in the universe?  What happens to the writer?   

REVIEW:  From the very first sentences in The Last Book In The Universe “If you’re reading this, it must be a thousand years from now. Because nobody around here reads anymore. Why bother, when you can just probe it?”, the reader’s attention is grabbed immediately. This science fiction book is excellent. Rodman Philbrick creates an alternate futuristic world with invented vocabulary to describe this new world, the people, and the items used in it. From the Urb, to the Proovs, to the Takvees, to the latches, this new world comes alive. The reader finds oneself transformed into this new world. One part of the new world is the burned- out Urb and the other part is the perfection of Eden. Both the strengths and weaknesses of both worlds are noticed. The themes of addiction, abandonment, poverty, environmental concerns, and violence of the 21st century are still prevalent in The Last Book In The Universe’s new world of the future. However, Spaz, Little Face, Ryter and Bean capture the reader’s heart evoking a sense of empathy and possibly sympathy for one if not all of these characters. One realizes that we all have a story to tell. Those stories need to be protected and passed along to future generations so that they may learn from our mistakes.  At the end of the book is a list of “New Words for a New World”.  

AREAS FOR TEACHING: main idea and supporting details, theme, setting, characters, point of view, conflict, plot, compare/contrast, cause/effect, sequence of events, inference, conclusions, generalizations, predictions, voice, mood, tone, 5 steps of the writing process.

RELATED BOOKS: The Giver by Lois Lowry, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Books by the same author: Freak the Mighty, Max the Mighty, The Young Man and the Sea

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: The Mighty (1998), Back to the Future (1995), The Incredibles (2004), War of the Worlds (1960)

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.holycrosstigers.com/4/The_Last_Book_in_the_Universe_Study_Guide.pdf

http://www.rodmanphilbrick.com/teaching.html

http://albion.jordan.k12.ut.us/TeacherWebFolders/Simons/8thg.html#Last_Book

http://www.stenhouse.com/assets/pdfs/Allen0399%20pp119-122.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Book_in_the_Universe

http://www.educationworld.com/a_books/books170.shtml/

http://www.dodea.edu/instruction/curriculum/lars/ela_lab/LessonPlans/Last_Book/Yokota/GettingintoWRITING.pdf

http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/collateral.jsp?id=992

REVIEWED BY: Tammy Leitzel

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8 Comments »

  1. this is a great book/

    Comment by christinemcferron — May 5, 2011 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  2. Where is the Urb in present times?

    Comment by Anonymous — December 10, 2011 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

    • chicago

      Comment by Anonymous — September 8, 2014 @ 1:26 am | Reply

  3. this is a very good book for me.It makes me feel like i am in the event.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 3, 2012 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  4. great book ggggggggggggggggggrerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttt book

    Comment by Anonymous — April 17, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  5. whoah this weblog is wonderful i love reading your articles.

    Keep up the great work! You already know, lots of persons are looking around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

    Comment by Kamasutra Book PDF — August 10, 2012 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  6. does anyone know who the antagonist of this book is?

    Comment by Anonymous — August 30, 2012 @ 5:02 am | Reply

    • There are multiple antagonists in this book. Billy Bizmo, Spaz’s Epilepsy,and Beans Leukemia are a few. Despite the fact that the Leukemia and Epilepsy aren’t concrete, they’re still considered antagonists.

      Comment by Kross Killler — October 24, 2012 @ 8:32 pm | Reply


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