by Kate Messner (illus. Brian Floca)
Scholastic Press, Publisher (2011)
Review Copy provided by the publisher
(Summary from Amazon.com): Marty McGuire would rather spend recess catching frogs in the pond than playing dress-up with the other girls in third grade. So when her teacher casts Marty as the princess in the class play, Marty's absolutely, positively sure that there's been a huge mistake. But after a special lesson in the art of improvisation, Marty comes up with her OWN plan to IMPROVE the play: Why use stuffed-animal frog onstage when a live one would be so much better? In the end, Marty's one-of-a-kind performance makes for an unforgettable show. Maybe Marty CAN live happily ever after, after all!
If you haven't read anything by Kate Messner yet you really need to! I absolutely LOVED her two middle grade novels, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z and Sugar and Ice. What I love most about Kate's writing, besides the fantastic story lines, is her ability to create strong girl characters that young readers can not only relate to but also, hopefully, emulate. I was thrilled to once again find that type of character her new early chapter book series, Marty McGuire.
Marty is a spunky third grade girl! Following in the foot steps of equally spunky characters like Ramona and Clementine, she's a girl who knows what she likes. From the opening chapter where she says "I'd call Veronica Grace Princess-Bossy Pants if I was allowed to call people names. But I'm not. So I won't." her voice rings true. She's funny and full of energy without coming across as annoying. I also love the caring, supportive adults that surround Marty in the story. One of my favorite lines is when her teacher, Mrs. Aloi, who is explaining to Marty why she would make the "perfect" princess in the class play, reminds her that she's..."somebody with a lot of talent and confidence. Somebody with a strong voice and lots of energy. Somebody who is brave and smart who can think on her feet." And she is all that and more! I love that in the end, Marty is true to herself.
A perfect read aloud, this book also fills the need for readers who are ready to move into more advanced chapter books for independent reading. The storyline deals with great issues like friendships, commitment, and taking chances on new things in a realistic, believable way. I can't for Kate's next installment, Marty McGuire Digs Worms! which is due out in February, 2012.
Read what others are saying about this GREAT series:
Kid Lit Frenzy
Random Chalk Talk
The Cath in the Hat
For more information about Kate Messner visit her website: http://www.katemessner.com/