Sunday, June 13, 2010


Moxy Maxwell, Procrastinator Extraordinaire

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank You Notes
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing the Piano

by Peggy Gifford

A coworker recently introduced me to Moxy Maxwell, who falls into that class of precocious young girl for roughly grade 2-3 readers that have been so popular, spawning Junie B., Clementine, and Judy Moody, and following in the august footsteps of Ramona Quimby. Thankfully, she reminds me more of Clementine, with her big ideas, than of Junie B., who can be a little obnoxious for my tastes.

The hook in each of these novels is that Moxy has a deadline for some task she really does not want to complete - laid out in the very descriptive titles. Instead of getting to it, Moxy procrastinates. She thinks up "easier, faster" ways of doing it, involving many other things that backfire. Or she has some other brilliant plan that is way to fantastic to put off in favour of what she ought to be doing.

It is perhaps not truly helping her that she has a small friend who is willing to do her bidding, no matter how ludicrous, as well as a younger sister who has been known to get involved. Her older brother is wise enough to stay out of the action, though he doesn't seem able to resist hanging around to see what will happen - and records everything in photographs sprinkled throughout the books.

Moxy's long-suffering mother really makes these books for me, with her dry, seeming-calm inquiries about what exactly has happened to create the mayhem that she has just discovered. For example:

"Was there a fire in your room?" her mother asked.
"A fire in my room?"
Was a fire in her room a good thing? Was a fire better than not reading Stuart Little?
"Not that I know of," said Moxy.
"Are you aware that you are swinging in a hammock and eating peaches and petting Rosie?" her mother said.

Because yes, Moxy was doing all those things after having destroyed her mother's garden and having not read Stuart Little, in fact.

This is the way things seem to happen around Moxy. for some reason, her big ideas go awry in a pretty spectacular fashion. And yes, it's a wild ride, but awfully funny.

A couple of things that makes these books a little difference is the narrator, who is outside of the action, and the photographs of the action, which add a fun comic twist. (I can't help but think how much fun they must have had staging those!)

This trio shows signs of expanding, and I will be picking up the next one, because these are a good laugh. In fact, I think I'm going to start reading one to my own little girl soon.

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