Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (19)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The princess anthropologist, July 19, 2011
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Hardcover)
It's high time "tomboys" rescued their term from its negative connotations. One very rarely runs across parents who use the word with pride. It happens, sure, but more often than not it's paired with a complaint. Same goes for tomboys in children's books. They exist but they tend to appear in works of historical fiction more often than not. The contemporary tomboy is, oddly enough, relatively rare these days. Maybe that's one of the reasons I loved Kate Messner's "Marty McGuire" as much as I did. Not only do you have a genuine one-of-a-kind 21st century tomboy on your hands, she's rejecting the princess culture too! Finding great early chapter books can be an enormous chore. Now "Marty" makes my job as a children's librarian that much easier.

Second grade was fine. Marty had no beef with second grade. But for all that her second grade teacher made third grade sound like a bed of roses, Marty is having a rough time of it. Her best friend Annie has been stolen by princess-loving girly girl Veronica Grace and now she won't go frog hunting or do any of the other fun things she used to with Marty. So when the school play is announced (The Frog Prince) guess who's shocked and appalled when she ends up with the role of the princess? That's right. Marty has to be seriously convinced that this is a good plan and even then she's reluctant. Fortunately, actors always have little tricks to make their roles their own. And Marty has a trick up her sleeve that's a doozy.

The rise of the princess culture is a relatively recent phenomenon. I'm referring to the abject shameless marketing to little girls of anything and everything princessy. It didn't really exist when I was a kid, only hitting its stride in the last decade or so. The result in the literary world has been a veritable cornucopia of pink and sparkly princess books for girls of every age. If a girl isn't into princesses and their omnipresent pinkness they may sometimes find the literary pickings (at least in some bookstores) few. Marty McGuire's brave rejection of all of that comes as a breath of fresh air. Here we've got a girl on the cover reaching for a frog in jeans and sneakers. Pink sneakers, sure, but you go with what you've got. The tiara falling to the side seems like more of an afterthought than anything else. I mean clearly this is a different kind of book.

Which makes the story all the more difficult to pull off. In a way, you're rooting for Marty and her anti-princess stance. The idea of her forced princessing is tricky territory. But Messner somehow manages to walk a fine line, never making this a book about "embracing your inner princess" or similar dreck. Instead, this is very clearly a story about trying something new and making it your own, even if it pulls you out of your comfort zone. That's actually a very useful, if rare, lesson that kids need to learn. I know that when I was a wee slip of a lass that I was perfectly content to do the same darn things over and over. I feared change. Maybe if I'd had a "Marty McGuire" of my own I would have at least come to sympathize with a girl who has to do something uncomfortable because the grown-ups in her life tell her to. That kind of nightmarish situation would have horrified and enthralled me by turns.

I've always enjoyed Ms. Messner's longer middle grade novels like "The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z." and "Sugar and Ice". Those are fun but she seems to have a particularly keen ear for the early chapter book genre. I'm torn trying to figure out whether or not early chapter books or easy readers constitute the hardest children's books to write. I may have to go with early chapter books because you have to be simple without dumbing down the story or the people. The fact that Messner manages to create three-dimensional characters with as few words as she does is remarkable. She also is awfully good at voice. From page one you are drawn to Marty. The book is written in first person and that person miserable right at the get-go. Getting your best friend stolen will do that to a gal.

When it comes down to it, this isn't your typical early chapter book. Messner likes to upset expectations once in a while. For example, I love that Marty is not the only girl in the class who dances to her own drummer. The character of Rasheena has just as little interest in princessy stuff as Marty, and when she's not playing basketball with the boys she's acquiring the role of the king in the school play. If Ms. Messner ever gets tired of doing the Marty books she could always consider spinning off into a Rasheena series. I would purchase that for my library. You bet.

Full credit to illustrator Brian Floca for his work on this book as well. Floca's style is an infinitely flexible thing. He can knock you dead with the sheer detail of a "Moonshot" or a "Ballet for Martha" one minute, and then scale it all down to the simple sketches required of a "Marty McGuire". In this particular book Floca's images provide a perfect complement to the action. Marty has to be appropriately female if not feminine. You have to look at her and know that she's a girl, while at the same time avoiding the standard long eyelashes some artists give their female characters when they want to advertise their sex. Floca knows how to do that, and knows too how to pick out just the right scenes for illustration. The kid intimidated by extra long novels and who needs some images to help them through will be grateful for Mr. Floca's work time and again.

By the time kids are reading early chapter fare the boys are reading "boy books" and the girls are reading "girl books". They'll mix it up a little if society lets them (boys can read "Franny K. Stein" and girls can read "Horrible Harry") but generally they stick to their seemingly assigned roles. A book like "Marty McGuire" could change some of that. There's nothing girly about this fun and funny story that's easy to talk up. Sell the fact that Marty has to play a princess to the princess lovers and her adoration of science, nature, and slimy critters to the rest of the kids. You'll end up with a whole slew of children ready and willing to become Marty fans. It's a smart little novel that uses just as many words as it needs to. No more. No less. For those seeking relief from the onslaught of ubiquitous royalty, here is the answer to your prayers.

For ages 5-9.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing Book!, May 4, 2011
By 
JetSetMom (Menlo Park, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Paperback)
I bought this book yesterday for my 3rd grade girl. She started reading it last night and could not go to sleep until she finished it! She absolutely raved about it the next morning and just loved the concept of a "tomgirl" being cast as a princess!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up! My 3rd grade daughter loved this., August 1, 2011
By 
Amy (Dallas, TX) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Paperback)
I must say I didn't read but a few chapters, but I give it two thumbs up! My daughter is about to enter 3rd grade and has a difficult time selecting books that are fit her reading level and her idea of sophistication (chapter books with at least 80 pages). This one hit the mark in a big way - she was reading it before camp and in the evenings and even at lunch sometimes. Yeah!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move Over Judy Moody!, July 6, 2011
By 
Beverly L. Archer (Colorado Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Paperback)
From the back of the book:

"That nice Mrs. Kramer lied to me about third grade. On the last day of school, she gave us cupcakes with sprinkles and little beach umbrellas and said have a super-duper summer and she'd wave to us in the hallway next year. She said third grade would be even more fun than second grade. She said we'd read bigger books and keep our old friends and make new ones and even get to be in the school play.

None of it is true. Because Veronica Grace Smithers has stolen my best friend and taken over recess."

In the tradition of Ramona, Clementine, and Judy Moody, Marty McGuire is quite a character. I loved this story. This is an excellent book for young readers who are ready to move beyond Junie B. Jones (parents will like Marty better than Junie.) Marty is a strong character who deals with the challenges of changing friendships, bossy classmates and the typical pitfalls of being a third grader. Marty's relationships with her friends and family are very realistic and will strike a chord in young readers.

This is one of my favorite new finds! I can't wait to read more about Marty's adventures.

Recommended for 3rd Grade and up.

Mrs. Archer's rating 5 of 5!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Play, May 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book because it talked about a play and I read what happens in the play. I request this book to Erica Postma.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars amazing for such a short book, February 27, 2014
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Kindle Edition)
really quite interesting and fun for kids!cute illustrations and intertaining,but VERY short. I loved it at once. Cool fact too! I didn't know that .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Good Choice, February 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Paperback)
Purchased it for my Grand daughter who loves to read stories out loud to me. She has finished it already.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Loved by a 9yr old, January 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Kindle Edition)
My daughter completed a battle of the books competition, & this was one of her favs, so yes, we'd purchase again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, January 21, 2014
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Paperback)
Marty is a very likeable character. There were some pretty funny parts in the story. I especially liked how the actual play turns out :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Marty McGuire, December 27, 2013
This review is from: Marty McGuire (Kindle Edition)
The book Marty McGuire, was the best book ever. I hope other people will read this AWESOME book, and the other Marty McGuire books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Marty McGuire
Marty McGuire by Brian Floca
$4.61
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.