Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little

Gifford, Peggy. 2007. MOXY MAXWELL DOES NOT LOVE STUART LITTLE. Photographs by Valorie Fisher. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375839153 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-4]

Moxy Maxwell is a character so many of us can relate to, at least, all of us who love to read, but can’t always get excited about assigned reading, no matter how good everyone tells us it is. Moxy’s summer reading of Stuart Little has been put off until the very last moment, and her continuing list of excuses for procrastinating will feel familiar to many, many readers.

Peggy Gifford has given Moxy a fresh voice, utterly realistic in terms of her ten-year-logic (and attempts to manipulate those around her, like going along with her Mom to run errands with the promise that she’ll stay in the car to read Stuart Little during the boring ones). The chapters are short and breezy with fun titles (like “Chapter 5: In which the word ‘Consequences’ first appears”), “illustrated” by black and white photos supposedly taken by Moxy’s twin brother Mark. These photos “document” the story, and their candid quality, along with their mock-serious captions (“This is a fabulous photograph Mark Maxwell took of Moxy’s room after she’d answered the phone and before she started cleaning” lend the story a charming authenticity and verisimilitude.

Moxy does finally read Stuart Little, and discovers that she loves him after all. Readers will feel the same way about Moxy.

Discuss procrastination and Moxy’s excuses for it. What’s the most creative excuse among the participants?

Other chapter books for emerging readers:
Pennypacker, Sara. CLEMENTINE. ISBN 9780786838820
Pennypacker, Sara. THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE. ISBN 9780786838707

By Julie Brinker

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