Book: Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little
Author: Peggy Gifford
It’s the last day of summer vacation, and Moxy Maxwell has about eighteen hours to finish Stuart Little. Not that she hasn’t tried. That book has been her constant companion this summer, traveling with her to the pool, the backyard, and sundry other destinations. The only problem . . . well . . . she hasn’t exactly started reading it.
Not that Moxy hates reading. She loves reading, but only what she wants to read. (Sounds pretty familiar to me.) Given the proximity of the classroom, her mom lays down the law. Stuart Little will get read OR ELSE Moxy won’t be able to perform in the daisy water ballet, or go to the afterparty, or eat the magnificent daisy cake ordered especially for the occasion. Egad. Something must be done. And Moxy does it . . . but not exactly what her mom expects.
While reading, I was constantly tempted to share snippets of dialogue, chapter headings, and the photographic illustrations with anybody in nabbing distance. Gifford makes full use of the chapter headings, using vaguely 19th-century encapsulations of the action. (My favorite: Chapter 7, In Which Moxy Maxwell’s Mother Says “No”. Chapter text, in full, “No.”)
Valorie Fisher’s photographs add to the madcap fun. Purporting to be the work of Moxy’s twin brother Mark, they show such diverse subjects as the state of Stuart Little after getting lemonade dumped on it and the state of Moxy’s mother after seeing what happened to her dahlias.
However, that stuff's all cream. The real joy of this book is the aptly-named Moxy herself. She is strong-minded, quick-witted, and an individual in the best tradition of Ramona, Junie B. Jones, Fancy Nancy, and Clementine. This fast-moving, delightful read took me about 45 minutes, making it perfect for early readers or readalouds.