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Marty Mcguire

January 20, 2014 - 5:53pm -- ariendeau
Marty Mcguire
Staff Favorite
Kate Messner, illus. by Brian Floca
Third grade is not what Marty Mcguire expected. Her classmate Veronica has stolen her best friend Annie, who now wants to dance and play dress-up though she "used to catch crayfish and climb trees [and] pretend to save chimpanzees by the creek" with Marty. True to the dramatic nature of elementary school relationships, Messner's spunky narrator notes, "I'd call Veronica Grace Princess Bossypants if I were allowed to call people names. But I'm not. So I won't." To make matters worse, tomboy Marty is chosen to play the princess in a class production of "The Princess and the Frog" when she would much rather be catching tadpoles. After a lesson in improv from an acting coach however, Marty finds a way to add her own personal (and surprising) touch to the play and learns to become more flexible when its comes to friendships.

This amusing chapter book artfully captures the speech of a third grader (a common phrase is "That is so not fair"), and the easy vocabulary and large type make this a good choice for transitional readers and parent-child read-aloud sessions. A quirky cast of supporting characters - including an enthusiastic mother who rescues wild animals, a cookie-loving raccoon named Sparky, and an excited teacher with maracas - add to the humor of Marty's adventures without taking away from the realistic portrayal of Marty's emotions. Floca's lively black and white illustrations enhance Messner's likeable, memorable characters and light-hearted storyline.

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