Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review: Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little

Was anyone else out there worried that there might not be something for those readers that have outgrown Pinky Dinky Doo (she's new and she is awesome sauce) and are about to outgrow Junie B. Jones (if one can truly outgrow JBJ)? I was one of those, wondering who would take up the torch and fill in the roll of the precocious young girl wise beyond her years. But no more. I have found her, and her name is Moxy Maxwell.

“Now, Moxy loved the read books. She loved to read book so much that sometimes she would stay up all night and read. It's just that Moxy like to read what she wanted to read and not what someone told her to read.” (from back cover) Moxy has been assigned to read Stuart Little during the summer before grade 4 starts (there will even be a quiz on the first day!) and despite her best efforts, she has not read a single page. She has tried everything and she has taken it with her everywhere. She has tried every thing…except actually trying to read it – despite threats from her mother and the fact that it is now the day before school! Moxy has to figure a way out of this – preferably a way that does not include reading a page of SL.

The supporting cast of the book find themselves drawn into the procrastinating plans of the scheming nine year old. Some simple and sensible plans, like cleaning her room before getting started, and some more complex plans, like planting a peach orchard (I won't ruin it and tell you why). This is the world of Moxy Maxwell, and although she is certainly not a copy of the popular character, I think readers will understand why I say that fans of Junie B. Jones will likely enjoy Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little . The biggest endorsement that I can give is that as I was nearing the end of the book I got a bit nervous about how Gifford was going to wrap this up in a satisfactory way. Don't worry though, she does a good job.

Peggy Gifford has written a very clever book for readers aged 7 or 8-11. The narrator sees Moxy's point of view on most things, which leads to some humorous reading, and despite the name of this column, there are a lot of pictures throughout the book. Photographs (by Valorie Fisher) are taken by Moxy's twin brother and used to punctuate key moments of the tale.

I will be reading this book during the first month of school this year and I just thought up a great little project my grade 3's will do to go with it (and we will then send it out to Peggy Gifford and Valorie Fisher). I will update this to let you know how it went. I have taught most of these kids before and I know that there are some huge Junie Jones fans (both boys and girls), so I am interested to see their reactions. The book is perfect for struggling readers since the chapters are so short (including Chapter 7, which consists of the word "NO."), but the book gets funnier the better the reader can read.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little
by Peggy Gifford
Photographed by Valorie Fisher

Published by Schwartz & Wade, 2007
104 pages
ISBN: 0375839151

Ages 8-11

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