Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Review: Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little

Image from GoodReads.com
A Book Review of:

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford


Moxy Maxwell is a spunky 9-year-old who is really going places. She's got lists of all the great things she's going to do, and plans of what she wants to be when she grows up. She's spent all summer long playing by the pool and practicing her Daisy routine for the end-of-the-year summer extravaganza at the pool, but on the last day of summer, she has to come to grips with her requirement to read Stuart Little before the first day of school, which happens to be tomorrow. Her mom has told her she has to read it, but Moxy has so many other things to do, how will she find the time for a little mouse?

Gifford, P. (2007). Moxy Maxwell does not love Stuart Little. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books.


This book is a fun, quick read which kids will find they can relate to easily. Moxy admits that she loves reading but that she doesn't like reading what other people tell her to read-- something that I think is a hurdle that a lot of kids face to reading in general, and often what keeps them from liking reading when they are young. She's prone to exaggerating, and is incredibly great at getting sidetracked, which is also where a lot of kids will relate to her -- boys and girls alike. She is also a schemer, and her biggest scheme in this book involves growing a peach orchard (out of the peaches on the kitchen counter) in the back yard. She's sure that this will earn her enough money to pay for college, and that this will convince her mom that she doesn't need to read Stuart Little after all. This scheme has disastrous consequences, but all's well that ends well because she discovers on the last page that maybe little Stuart isn't so bad to read about after all. Moxy is fun to read about and quirky, but she's also relate-able. This humorous look at Moxy's afternoon allows kids to laugh about Moxy's extravagances, but will see overall that procrastinating didn't really do her much good, so it also teaches a subtle message about getting things done. Funny photographs that show Moxy's activities on her afternoon (taken by her twin brother Mark who claims to be a photographer) increase the humor factor.With short chapters (one consists of just one word: "No"), this is a great book for emerging or hesitant readers, and for kids who have issues with procrastination.

Professional Reviews:

"Tomorrow is the first day of school, and nine-year-old Moxy still hasn't read Stuart Little, her summer-reading assignment. She's running out of excuses: she must clean her room, recover from cleaning her room, train the dog, think about training the dog, and so on. Meanwhile, her mother threatens consequences: Moxy won't be allowed to perform in her water-ballet show -- she is to be one of eight petals in a human daisy -- if she doesn't finish her assignment on time. Gifford spins a fairly universal trial of childhood into a wildly original tale featuring a self-referential narrator who identifies as the book's author; faux-amateur black-and-white photos of the goings-on, ostensibly snapped by Moxy's twin brother; and decidedly unchapter-like chapters (one chapter is one word long -- "No"; two chapters comprise nothing but Moxy's brother's captioned photos). Best of all, the book stars a protagonist whose name, as it reflects her character, is a vast understatement. It's only a mild letdown that, in what seems to be Gifford's gratuitous concession to the try-it-you'll-like-it creed, Moxy ends up enjoying Stuart Little so much that she happily stays up till midnight to finish it." Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
 [Review of the book  Moxy Maxwell does not love Stuart Little, by P. Gifford]. (2007). Horn Book Magazine Reviews. Retrieved from http://www.hbook.com

A chapter-book picaresque hilariously chronicles one day in the life of almost-fourth-grader Moxy Maxwell. From the heretical title to the short chapters, headed in fine 18th-century style (“In Which Moxy Realizes Her Mother Is Home”), and Fisher’s snort-inducing “documentary” photographs, everything about this offering reaches out to draw the reader in. A slyly intrusive narrator relates the events of August 23 (the day before school begins), occasionally commenting on the action or offering an alternative interpretation as Moxy struggles with Stuart Little, the assigned summer reading she has avoided for months. Moxy is an exuberantly unforgettable character, her reluctance to settle down to read partially explained by her list of 211 Possible Career Paths. Newcomer Gifford surrounds Moxy with equally memorable family and friends, from twin brother Mark, who finished Stuart Little on the first day of summer, to Mom, whose “consequences” loom ever larger as the disastrous day progresses. With its brilliantly accessible application of a usually complex narrative technique, this work represents a significant raising of the bar for writers of chapter books. Technique or no technique, kids will recognize Moxy—and they will love her. (Fiction. 7-11)
[Review of the book Moxy Maxwell does not love Stuart Little, by P. Gifford]. (2007, April 1). Kirkus' Reviews. Retrieved from http://www.kirkusreviews.com


Celebrate a week in your library for Celebrating Your Differences to promote tolerance and understanding of others. Highlight and display books about characters who are notably flawed, or a little off. Moxy Maxwell is a procrastinator and an eccentric.

Try some other titles like these with flawed characters, but emphasize how our differences make us special:

Joey Pigza in Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (ADD and hyperactivity)
      by Jack Gantos
Alvin Ho in Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (he's scared of everything)
     by Lenore Look
Ramona Quimby in Ramona the Pest (she's a pest, and has an overactive imagination)
     by Beverly Cleary
Junie B. Jones in the Junie B. Jones series (she's rude and is a troublemaker)
     by Barbara Park
Greg Heffley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid (he's easily jealous and generally has a hard time with things)
     by Jeff Kinney

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