MOXY MAXWELL DOES NOT LOVE STUART LITTLE

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)

Pub Date: May 8, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-83915-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.).

POPPY

From the Poppy series , Vol. 3

An adolescent mouse named Poppy is off on a romantic tryst with her rebel boyfriend when they are attacked by Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules over the area.

He kills the boyfriend, but Poppy escapes and Mr. Ocax vows to catch her. Mr. Ocax has convinced all the mice that he is their protector when, in fact, he preys on them mercilessly. When the mice ask his permission to move to a new house, he refuses, blaming Poppy for his decision. Poppy suspects that there is another reason Mr. Ocax doesn't want them to move and investigates to clear her name. With the help of a prickly old porcupine and her quick wits, Poppy defeats her nemesis and her own fears, saving her family in the bargain. 

The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.). (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09483-9

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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