Fuzzy Mud is a 2017 novel by the author of the phenomenally successful Holes, Louis Sachar. Published in 2017, the book’s target audience is schoolchildren between grades 3 and 8. The Developmental Reading Assessment Level of Fuzzy Mud is 60 with a guided reading level of W, making the book most suitable for those with a sixth grade reading level. The Lexile Reading Measurement of 700 also deems the novel most suitable for 6th grade readers.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the plot of Fuzzy Mud follows the adventures of a fifth grade girl and seventh grade boy attending Woodbridge Academy where a confrontation with a bully leads to an attempt to escape through an off-limits shortcut. The discovery of the secret behind why this shortcut if off-limits plunges the two into an eco-thriller that raises relevant questions about issues related to population explosion, the battle over energy resources and the ethical dimensions of bio-engineering. Although the themes and subject of Fuzzy Mud covers some pretty heady stuff that might be equally at home in an adult bestseller destined to become a big-budget movie, the reading level scores are manifest evidence that Sachar manages to integrate adult-world problems into his familiar milieu of middle-school student life.
Reviews were also quick to note that Sachar makes essential points about dealing with bullies, attempting to understand opposing viewpoints while weighing the balance of those viewpoints equally in attempt to do the right thing without indulging in simplistic answers or facile reasoning.
The somewhat unclear title refers to a gooey part of the ground found in that shortcut. The discovery of that mustard-colored tarry scum that looks like mud seen through fuzzy eyes that serves to assist in the attempt to escape one small bully will eventually result in secretive Congressional hearings, a town-wide quarantine recalling "Silent Hill" and, perhaps most disturbing of all: frankengerms!