The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe
Margaret Ferguson Books
Published June 1, 2021
About The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb
Eleven-year-old Loah Londonderry is definitely a homebody. While her mother, a noted ornithologist, works to save the endangered birds of the shrinking Arctic tundra, Loah anxiously counts the days till her return home. But then, to Loah’s surprise and dismay, Dr. Londonderry decides to set off on a perilous solo quest to find the Loah bird, long believed extinct. Does her mother care more deeply about Loah the bird than Loah her daughter?
Things get worse yet when Loah’s elderly caretakers fall ill and she finds herself all alone except for her friend Ellis. Ellis has big problems of her own, but she believes in Loah. She’s certain Loah has strengths that are hidden yet wonderful, like the golden feather tucked away on her namesake bird’s wing. When Dr. Londonderry’s expedition goes terribly wrong, Loah needs to discover for herself whether she has the courage and heart to find help for her mother, lost at the top of the world.
Beautifully written, THE MOST PERFECT THING IN THE UNIVERSE is about expeditions big and small, about creatures who defy gravity and those of us who are bound by it.
For fans of SHOUTING AT THE RAIN by Lynda Mullaly and THE ADVENTURES OF A GIRL CALLED BICYCLE by Christina Uss, a novel about one unadventurous girl who discovers she is anything but.
I want to say all the things about this book at the same time, which could be my coffee kicking in. This book is odd in all the best possible ways. It has super quirky characters. A mysterious home deep in the woods. I love stories that feature the importance of community and found family, and THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE UNIVERSE absolutely does that so well.
At the beginning of the story, Loah is isolated and fearful. She’s counting down the days until her mom comes home and life will be normal again. Not only does that not happen, but her mom extending her trip is only the first in a series of dominoes that change Loah’s carefully ordered small world. As she faces circumstances that challenge her, she finds a fierceness that she didn’t know she had. The girl who once felt as isolated as an endangered bird becomes the catalyst for bringing a group of unconnected people together as a community.
I love the characters in this book. Sweet, soft-spoken Theo who can always be counted on to slip Loah some gummy worms and pragmatic, no-nonsense Miss Rinker reminded me of Matthew and Marilla from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Loah’s neighbors, a keep-to-themselves, self-sufficient family also have strong personalities. At first they scare Loah, but they teach her a lot about resilience and family.
I haven’t read either of the two books mentioned in the book summary, but THE MOST PERFECT THING IN THE UNIVERSE reminded me of SIX FEET BELOW ZERO by Ena Jones or CHIRP by Kate Messner. I think readers who enjoyed either of those books or who just like stories featuring small, quirky towns with big characters will love this one.
Recommended for Ages 10 up.
One minor character is described as having dark skin.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some pieces fall from Loah’s roof, nearly injuring someone. A vulture vomits on someone.
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