This first book about family and school life in the "Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls" series by Meg Cabot is published by Scholastic, Inc.
Moving Day is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Allie Finkle likes rules. She records her list of personal rules in a special journal. But her comfortable, orderly life is shaken when her parents decide to buy a creepy old house, to remodel it, and want to move the family, Allie and her two younger brothers, across town. Because of their decision, Allie knows she will have to attend a new school. Not only is Allie worried about entering a new class midyear, she's concerned about making friends and terrified because she believes (after hearing a neighbor boy's story) that their new house is haunted. Despite her efforts to sabotage the move, Allie finds herself liking her soon-to-be next-door neighbor and having fun visiting her new school. With the help of her Uncle Jay, she learns a new rule: Sometimes if you're willing to pretend to like something, you may actually begin to enjoy it.
Both of Allie's parents work at the same local college. Her dad teaches computer literacy, and her mom is a student adviser. They decide to move closer to the school so they can spend more time with the kids and less time commuting. They are attentive to Allie and her two younger brothers, and the family often goes on outings together. Allie's uncle Jay is a somewhat irresponsible graduate student (law-school-turned-art-major) who allows Allie to watch scary movies and helps her kidnap a turtle from a Chinese restaurant without her parents' knowledge.
Other Belief Systems
Uncle Jay (possibly joking) says that he is sensitive to psychic phenomena and only senses harmonious vibrations in Allie's family's new home.
Allie's mom makes Dad, Uncle Jay and the movers put quarters in the swear jar because of the language they use while moving boxes and assembling furniture. (No actual swear words appear in the story.) A group of girls led by her friend Brittany are cruel to a cat, tossing it around in a suitcase.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Do you agree with Allie's rule that you should say only good things to your friends, even if they aren't true? What is the difference between Allie's rule and lying? How important is honesty in a good friendship? How important is encouragement (saying good things about your friend)? What are some ways you can be kind to your friends, even if you don't necessarily agree with them?
- What ways did Allie try to keep her parents from selling their old house? Why was it so difficult for her to accept that her family was moving? How did she dishonor her parents with her actions? What would have been a more respectful way for her to handle the situation? How would you have felt in her place? What could you have done to let us know how you were feeling about the upcoming move?
- What did Brittany do to her mother's cat, Lady Serena Archibald? How did the cat react in the suitcase? Why were Brittany and the other girls mean to this animal? What did Allie do about Brittany's inappropriate behavior? Why do you think Allie did the right or wrong thing?
- Allie believed that if you ignore someone who is insulting you, you win. How would behaving in this way make you a winner? How might it make you a loser? Can you tell me about one situation in your life where this rule might work? What have you done in the past when people were teasing you? How is this rule a good or bad rule in your world?
- Allie stole a turtle from the man-made pond in a Chinese restaurant. She didn't want it to be made into turtle soup, a dish she found on the menu. Did Allie do a good or bad thing when she stole the turtle? Where in the Bible does it say that good intentions make an inappropriate action OK? What does “the ends justifies the means” mean? Is this a biblical concept? What are some ways that Allie could have shown her concern for the turtle without doing what was wrong? What would you have done in her place?
- What are some things that Allie's Uncle Jay did right? What things does he do wrong? How is he a good and bad influence in Allie's life? He makes a suggestion: If Allie will pretend to like the idea of moving, maybe she will actually become excited. Why do you think that suggestion works? What is something in your life that you can pretend to like until you actually do?
- What does the neighbor boy tell Allie about the attic in her new house? How do his words affect Allie when she believes them? What could she have done to make sure his words were the truth before believing them? What are some rumors that older kids — or even adults — have told you? What happens when you believe what they said? Who can you ask to figure out the truth about something?
- Allie thinks about what happened to the brains of a boy who wasn't wearing a helmet while skateboarding and was hit by a car. What is her conclusion?
- Allie watches horror movies. How does her behavior change because of what she has seen? What kinds of things do you watch that cause your behavior to change?
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