A book review for parents
This first humor book in the "Judy Moody" series by Megan McDonald is published by Candlewick Press, an imprint of Walker Books.
Judy Moody is written for kids ages 6 to 9. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Judy Moody dreads the end of summer vacation and her first day of third grade. But she and her best friend, Rocky, manage to keep each other entertained as they attempt to avoid Judy's little brother, Stink, and complete their "Me Collages" for class. In creating collages, Judy and Rocky must visually describe themselves and their lives for their classmates. Judy's ever-changing collage — which is altered even moments before her presentation — speaks to the fluidity of moods, circumstances and friendships that constitute the life of a third-grader.
The text and pictures indicate that Judy's parents are frequently present and involved in their kids' lives. They accompany Judy's younger brother on a class field trip to the White House. They take Judy, her brother and her friends out for ice cream. They also show an interest in the kids' school projects. They do force Judy to attend the party of a classmate she dislikes, but because she gets to know him better at the event, she and the boy become friends.
Other Belief Systems
Nothing graphic — just a little grossness — is present. Judy collects scabs, and she and her friends start the Toad Pee Club after her toad urinates on each of their hands.
American Library Association Notable Children's Book, 2001; Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award, 2003; and others.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Judy lies a few times, once to Frank telling him he has the wrong number when he calls and once to her parents about when Frank's party starts.
Do you think little lies are OK?
What does the Bible say about lying?
- Judy isn't nice to Frank at first, but she starts to like him after she gets to know him.
Have you ever disliked someone and then, after taking the time to learn more about the person, realized he or she was OK? Give an example. (Judy isn't always kind to her little brother; she makes him do things for her, scares him and smashes his moon rock.)
For older siblings:
- How does your little brother/sister annoy you?
- What do you do when you're annoyed?
- How could you be nicer to him/her?
For younger siblings:
- Do you ever feel as though your big brother/sister isn't nice to you?
- What might help improve that problem?
- How does God want you to treat your brothers and sisters?
When Judy can't heal her doll, she bandages her. When her collage is ruined, she turns the juice stain into the state of Virginia. Even her brother finds ways to turn problems around: When Judy crushes his moon rock, he sells bags of moon dust.
- What are some difficult problems you face?
- What puts you in a bad mood?
- Can you think of any ways to turn those situations into positives, like Judy and Stink did?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.