Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The queen of Procrastination

Moxy Maxwell has been assigned one book to read over the summer: Stuart Little. And summer is almost over. In fact, Moxy has about eighteen hours left in which to read Stuart Little, or, her mother threatens, there will be Consequences.

Moxy looks up the word "consequences" in the dictionary, and she is astonished at the effect of that one word: "It interested Moxy a great deal that a single word - twelve letters that could be erased with a #2 eraser - was powerful enough to make her feel as if she might throw up."

It's not as if Moxy hasn't tried to read Stuart Little. Stuart has accompanied her everywhere all summer long - to the pool, in the car, in the back yard. And it's not as if Moxy doesn't like to read - she loves to read. Sometimes she stays up late into the night reading. It's just that she wants to read what she wants to read, not what someone tells her to.

Moxy procrastinates in creative, hilarious ways, coming up with one reason after another why she hasn't read the book, why she can't read it yet, why she'll be all finished soon. The clock is ticking down, though, and it's the very last day of summer vacation. She absolutely must finish the book, or she won't be allowed to participate in the synchronized swimming event she's been practicing so hard for all summer long. But the dog needs trained. And her room is messy. And she has a great idea for raising money for her college tuition...

This book is another Summer Reading Program pick for my library, and it is delightful. Moxy carries on the tradition of such irrepressible heroines as Clementine, Junie B. and Ramona. The chapter headings are a hoot, and the photographs that accompany the text (taken by Moxy's twin brother, with captions) make the events of the book even funnier by casting them in a realistic light. I identify with Moxy's dislike of being made to read things not of her choosing, and I found the book especially funny because I picked it up knowing full well I should have been working on an assignment for class instead.

This book has definite appeal to kids (and adults) of all ages, but I would particularly recommend it to kids who shy away from longer, denser books. The large print, wide white margins and many photographs throughout the book make it a very appealing pick for reluctant readers and those transitioning to chapter books. It's also a fun, quick summer read - and what's not to love about that?

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford; photographs by Valorie Fisher (Schwartz and Wade Books, 2007)

Other blog reviews:
The Book Nest
Comics in the Classroom
Confessions of a Bibliovore

10 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 and up, that kids hate to put down. My web site is at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com and my Books for Boys blog is at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
    Ranked by Accelerated Reader

    Thank you,

    Max Elliot Anderson

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  2. I can related to Moxy as well. I know that the intentions are good, but assigned readings can often discourage kids from reading rather than the opposite. Anyway, this does sound absolutely delightful!

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  3. Hi, Max - thanks for stopping by!

    Nymeth - you are so right - there's just something about having to read that sucks all the fun out of it. And yes, it is a delightful book!

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  4. I've heard of this book before! I'm glad the kid eventually decides to read Stuart Little because although it certainly isn't my favorite E. B. White it is good (if disjointed).

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  5. wow! who wrote a book about me? i always detested being assigned books to read in school. being told i have to do something - especially if it's something i'm going to do anyway, on my own time - is something i've always rejected.
    i'll have to pick this one up, sometime.

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  6. Ladytink - you are right - when I reread Stuart Little I was surprised by how episodic it was. But I totally loved it when I was a kid. That and Ralph the mouse with the motorcycle in Beverly Cleary's books!

    Molly - Moxy actually reminds me of you! It's probably a 30-minute read, and I think you'd get a kick out of it. :-)

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  7. This sounds fantastic. I was a voracious reader as a child, but often used reading to develop my skills of procrastination!

    Will definitely be looking this on up!

    Thanks for the warm welcome on my new blog!

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  8. Hi, Mariel - thanks for stopping by! Yes, books are a lovely way to procrastinate (as is blogging, lol). This one is quick and fun to read, and the photos really add a lot.

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  9. Thanks for the link, Darla! I loved Moxy. Did you know that in October, she also does not love writing thank you notes?

    Maureen

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  10. You are welcome, Bibliovore! And that is exciting news about October. Who likes writing thank you notes, anyway? Go Moxy! :-)

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Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!