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Me and Rolly Maloo Hardcover – July 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-4–Fourth-grader Rolly Maloo is pretty and intelligent but she fears she is not smart enough to win a coveted spot in a math competition. She uses her popularity to win the allegiance of Jenna Lee, who is smarter but in much lower social and economic strata. During the important test, the in-crowd gets the answers they need, and Jenna gets caught. Who is the cheater? Rolly and her friend Patty had manipulated her, and Jenna capitulated to their demands. Complicating matters are the mothers of the popular girls. Grown-up Queen Bees themselves, they are PTO powerhouses spying from the copy room and demanding action from the principal, who just wants the situation to go away. The true heroes are the other social outcasts, Shorn and Hugo (who tell what they know), and the kids' kind and fair teacher, Mrs. Pie. She cracks the case with deductive reasoning, handwriting analysis, and some very interesting “push-back” on Principal Young's efforts to appease the parents. Wong's inclusion of school administration and “helicopter” parents makes this morality play a painfully accurate portrayal of elementary school political and social dynamics. The characterizations are spot-on, and Buttler's frequent graphic-novel-style artwork and dialogue balloons emphasize reactions and emotions. The easy-reading level and heavy use of illustrations may attract an audience not prepared for the moral ambiguity displayed by the adult characters, but the story is one worth telling.–Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NCα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Rolly is the most popular girl in fourth grade. So why does she suddenly invite Jenna over? Is it because Jenna gets perfect scores on math tests? Should Jenna help Rolly cheat? Wong writes in the alternating voices of Jenna and Rolly, as well as their classmates, teachers, and parents, and it is sometimes hard to keep track of who is speaking. Still, the prose narratives, along with the pencil and digital illustrations that are sometimes laid out in comic-style panels, nicely express the characters' thoughts and feelings, alone and in the classroom. The story culminates during a math test when Rolly throws a small paper ball to Jenna with a question (“What is # 8?”), and Jenna overcomes her hesitation and throws back the answer. The teacher is busy reading her e-mail, but other kids see what is happening. Or do they? Rumors fly, and in one stand-out picture, trendy mothers babble on their cell phones in the supermarket with wild stories about Jenna's guilt. Middle-grade readers will be easily caught up in the cheating drama. Grades 2-4. --Hazel Rochman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge; New edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580891586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580891585
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,786,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janet S. Wong ( is an award-winning author and anthologist of more than two dozen books for young readers, teachers, and parents. One of the most distinctive things about Janet Wong's body of work is its variety. There's at least one book for anyone--and EVERYONE!

Picture Books

This book was an L.A. Times Best Book of the Year for children--a lively read-aloud about a toddler's busy morning routine. Kids love buzzing along every time you point to the word BUZZ!

This book is not just for kids--with its hipster illustrations, it's a quirky gift for anyone who is good at "creative recycling." Give it to a 5-year-old future engineer along with a box full of assorted junk or to your dad for helping you clean your garage.

This book landed Janet a gig at the White House Easter Egg Roll--a "slice of community" story celebrating diversity.

Gorgeous illustrations by E.B. Lewis enhance this story about making a house feel like a home.

Poetry Books

TWIST: Yoga Poems
This book is for all ages, from 3-year-olds who love looking at Julie Paschkis's detailed illustrations (and can bend themselves into all of the yoga poses) to 73-year-old yoga teachers. In "Finding the Center," the author compares herself to a doughnut.

KNOCK ON WOOD: Poems about Superstitions
Teachers looking for books to use with the Common Core will enjoy discussing the Author's Notes about what the superstitions mean and comparing them with the way superstitions are presented in poems. A follow-up exercise is to have students interview family members about those same superstitions.

Janet Wong received the Claremont Stone Center Recognition of Merit for these two classic collections about the Asian American experience.

BEHIND THE WHEEL: Poems about Driving
Forty poems for teens about driving also use driving as a metaphor for a wide variety of life issues.

THE RAINBOW HAND: Poems about Mothers and Children
Children's favorites from this book include "Smother Love" and "Crazy Mother," while new mothers appreciate poems reflecting on the motherhood experience such as "The Gift of Breathing Slow."

ONCE UPON A TIGER: New Beginnings for Endangered Animals
As with KNOCK ON WOOD, this is another title that teachers will find useful in their teaching of the Common Core. Most of these poems about endangered animals are "pourquoi tale" poems with a folkloric feel, and yet critical readers will be able to recognize embedded facts once they read the nonfiction notes.

These mostly-lighthearted and nonpartisan poems about various aspects of an election--from debates to the electoral college to broader issues such as liberty--will spark discussion in classrooms and at home.

Chapter Books

The pressures of standardized testing in 4th grade push Rolly Maloo to ask Jenna to cheat; but only Jenna is caught. Should she keep her secret, or tell on Rolly Maloo? This hybrid graphic novel will be useful in starting discussions about cheating (why we do it, how to say no, and how to deal with being caught in a lie). A Horace Mann Upstanders Award Honor Book (recognizing books where a character stands up for something important).

This "easy reader for 5th graders" focuses on the unlikely friendship between a lizard-loving girl and a tech geek. A Washington Sasquatch finalist and BCCB Blue Ribbon Award winner.

In this sequel to the popular MINN AND JAKE, Jake visits his old home in Los Angeles and learns "you can't go back home again"--but a string of hilarious mini-disasters involving self-tanning lotion, ants, buffet meals, and Disneyland can teach you to appreciate your new friends more than ever!

Books that Teachers Like:

A picture book about the writing and revision process--cited on Common Core lists as useful.

A "Meet the Author" book that gives insight into the writing process with a "just do it" message to put ideas down on paper "before they wriggle away."

A K-5 anthology of 218 poems by 76 poets, with curriculum connections for each poem. Edited by Janet Wong and children's literature professor Sylvia Vardell. (This is available in a Common Core version and in a Texas TEKS version.)

The three e-books in this series are also Vardell and Wong ventures; accessible poems at irresistible e-book prices; and easy to project onto a Smartboard or screen so that the whole classroom can read and discuss these poems at the same time.

About Janet Wong:

When Janet Wong is not writing, speaking at teacher conferences, or sharing writing tips with children in schools, she spends most of her time trying to grow blueberries and carnivorous plants at her home in Princeton, NJ.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Me and Rolly Maloo is a book about a girl named Jenna Lee and some kids from her school. Since Jenna Lee is kind of poor, she does not really have any friends so she is kind of lonely. Because she wants a friend, she does something she knows she shouldn't do and ends up getting into trouble.

You worry a lot when you read the book because it is so suspenseful and you wonder about what is going to happen in the end. Will the teacher find out what really happened? Will Jenna Lee get punished? Will Jenna Lee's eventual friends get to do anything fun this year?

I think if you're in elementary school, you should read this book. I really liked it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julee Rudolf VINE VOICE on July 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
There is so much wrong with this book about cheating that I don't know where to start. In fact, the only reason I didn't hate it (and give it one star) is because of its one redeeming quality: ethnically diverse characters. Unfortunately, the diversity of its characters can't make up for its many flaws (note: this review contains plot spoilers).

The story is about a bright 4th grader who gives a popular classmate answers to a math test in order to gain her approval and (she hopes) friendship. Her teacher sees a crumpled note thrown (from Rolly) to Jenna and investigates. The PTA president and vice-president, portrayed as well-to-do, elitist, helicopter moms whose only desire is to get their daughters into a prestigious private school, place themselves in the middle of the mess and contact the principal about cheating rumors. Eventually, the cheaters are caught, the struggling students pass the test, and the PTA parents get their due. Any reader who has spent time at a public school may spend a lot of time scratching her head, however, about the following top 10 Reasons Why I Dislike This Book:

(1) The students, who are a mere three days into 4th grade, are taking a test that contains 5th grade material in order to decide which ones will need tutoring. Why would just-finished-3rd-graders need tutoring for material that they shouldn't be expected to have mastered yet?

(2) Mrs. Pie, the teacher, tells Jenna, a bright math student, that she (Jenna) teaches better than herself (Mrs. Pie) and allows her to tutor two of her classmates for several days in preparation for the retest. Later, she suggests that the parents of other students might be willing to pay her for tutoring them in math.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Seattle Pie Fans on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A thoughtful and compelling rendering of age-old conflicts--cheating and the desire to be popular. Wong does an excellent job developing modern, believeable characters with an entertaining and layered plot. My kids loved the quirky personalities, funny names and graphic novel-style illustrations. It didn't take long for them to become entrenched in the story and eager to learn how Mrs. Pie would solve the conflict. Five glow-in-the-dark stars for Shorn L. Loop, Jenna Lee, Dolores Pie..., and Ms. Wong!
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