Friday, December 26, 2008

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes

Review by Scott Tingley


I would love to go on and on about the finer points of the second Moxy Maxwell book, Peggy Gifford’s Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes, but I can’t. Even though I found the book to be very funny, fresh and surprisingly dark (more on that in a moment), I just can’t shake this feeling of dread.


IT ISN’T AS though Moxy isn’t grateful for her Christmas presents. She is. She’s just not thrilled that she has to write a thank-you note for each one by tomorrow . . . or she will not be allowed to fly to Hollywood to attend a star-studded Hollywood bash with the father she hasn’t seen in three years. And writing thank-you notes is not something that a world-class Creative Type relishes doing.(from RandomHouse.com)


My feeling of dread does not come from anything found in the above synopsis. No, it comes from the fact that my two little kids combined equal the destructive power that is contained within Moxy Maxwell. My four year old girl is wonderful and precocious and my two year old boy is happy and very physical and together they will probably find some way to sink our house into a bottomless pit or make a beautiful collage for some Father’s Day by cutting out a single picture from every one of my many comics and graphic novels cluttering our soon to be sunk-in-a-bottomless-pit house.


Seriously.


But, I will try to soldier on...


One of the reasons I have enjoyed this Moxy Maxwell, and the first Moxy book, Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little is that in it there is a nice balance of impending doom and real life family dynamics. In Thank You there is the familiar destruction of family property that you can see coming from a mile away - and there is some wonderful frustrations that accompanies this knowledge – but there is also a darker, more troubling doom coming. This doom, unfortunately, involves the family dynamics in a way that readers will also see coming. It involves Moxy and her twin brother Mark’s absent biological father and another terribly timed let down.

I was surprised that this book went in the direction it did. Here I thought the Moxy series would continue on as just a nice thing for Junie B. Jones fans to move on to when they got older. I thought that the books would just be about the wacky adventures of a young girl and the family that tries to contain her – but this is not so. Amongst all the fun there are real issues being dealt with in real ways – it is like the comic series Amelia Rules in this way. Where I to read this to my own grade three class I know that it would hit close to home for some of them – which can be a very good thing.


But, I didn’t read it to my grade three class. I handed my copy off to the grade four teacher (who teaches the grade threes I had last year). I read the first Moxy to last year’s grade three class in September and some of the turns-of-phrases used went over their heads, but when I read it again in June they loved it. So I think this book is perfect for late grade three and up.


I truly hope that there are more Moxy Maxwell books coming, and if you or the young readers in your life have a book store gift card burning a hole in you pockets this holiday season, this is the perfect reading material to fill in the last week of the school holiday.


By the way, I didn’t fit it into the review, but I wanted to mention the fun photos by Valorie Fisher that are spread throughout the book. They are meant to be by Moxy’s twin brother and they tend to punctuate the events that are then happening.


ISBN: 978-0-375-84270-2 (0-375-84270-5)
Price: $14.99

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1 comment:

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