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The Diary of Melanie Martin: or How I Survived Matt the Brat, Michelangelo, and the Leaning Tower of Pizza Hardcover – May 9, 2000

Book 1 of 4 in the Melanie Martin Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Girls' Life advice columnist Weston's (Girltalk; For Girls Only) humorous first novel, 10-year-old New Yorker Melanie Martin tells the story of her family vacation to Italy. Through journal entries, Melanie, a likable, believable fifth-grader, describes everything from her relationship with her parents and six-year-old brother, "Matt the Brat," to Italian Renaissance artists' proclivity for nudes. After touring museum after museum with her mother, an avid art-history teacher, Melanie writes, "I think Italy is full of miracles. I also think Italy is rated R. Which I can handle. But maybe Mom and Dad should have left Matt at home with a baby-sitter." Weston clearly knows a 10-year-old's take on foreign customs: after the heroine observes Italian laundry flapping on clotheslines, she writes, "Well, if your panties were flapping in the wind, would you want your neighbors to see holes in them? I think that's why Italians need so much new underwear and so many underwear shops." The entries, which range from the everyday observations about desperately needing to go to the bathroom on the plane to the more dramatic, such as meeting her father's ex-girlfriend, are peppered with Melanie's quirky rhymes and handwritten jottings that reflect her moods. Weston effectively proves that perhaps travel's greatest gift is a reinvigorated perspective on life at home. Ages 8-10. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-Ten-year-old Melanie Martin and her family are going to Italy for spring break. Her diary begins shortly before their European adventures start, and continues as they travel across Italy and back home again. As on many family vacations, the two kids fight, the parents argue, pickpockets strike, children go missing, new things are tried, but, ultimately, everyone has a memorable trip. Melanie's diary has an authentic ring: she grumbles about her brother, her parents complain that she is a grump, but by journal's end she has gained a maturity that often accompanies a trip abroad. Sections of the book are laugh-out-loud funny and Weston's descriptions will have readers wanting to see the country for themselves. An enjoyable read.
Elaine Baran Black, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 5
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375805095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375805097
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,860,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The New York Times Book Review calls AVA AND PIP "a love letter to language," and I hope you like this new series too. It's the diary of a good kid who does a bad thing. The sequel, AVA AND TACO CAT, is coming out in April.
Twenty years! That's how long I've been "Dear Carol" at Girls' Life. Newsweek called me a "Teen Dear Abby." I'm also a mom and a French/Spanish comp lit major at Yale with an M.A. from Middlebury. My website is carolweston.com and my advice channel is youtube.com/girltalkwithcarol.
GIRLTALK: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You, my first book, (HarperCollins), has been translated into 12 languages. Now in a fourth edition, it's as sensible, encouraging, and "outstanding" (SLJ) as ever. Among my other 14 books is The Diary of Melanie Martin (Knopf), a novel about a fourth grader and her brother Matt the Brat. In the series, the kids visit Italy, Spain, Holland, and NYC with their art teacher mom. Coming up: The Speed of Life.
It's such a privilege to write for young people!


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
83%
4 star
13%
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4%
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See all 24 customer reviews
My 11 year old daughter loves this series of books!!
Crystal B
If you loved the Amelia books by Marissa Moss, you are going to go gaga over Melanie Martin and her world-class travel adventures with her family.
Gwynne C. Spencer
My daughter actually reread the book by herself after we read it all together.
K

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Xeneri on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Meet 10 year old Melanie Martin, your average american kid and child travel critic . Melanie keeps a travel journal when her folks take her and her 6 year old brother Matt on a trip to Italy. Remember those family vacations you used to take as a kid? Well trust me, when you travel with Melanie, it'll all come rushing back at you.
Melanie's accounts of plane travel, Italian culture ("Almost everyone here speaks Italian-even kids"), and her goofy adventures with her family (at a museum she plays a game with Matt to "Point out the Naked People") will have you in stitches. Ms Weston is not only a funny writer, she's a mom and it serves her well in her accounts of family behaviour. This book reminds me of my own family trips when I was a kid (hey, when I was 11, my folks took me to Italy too! I can't say I appreciated it as much as Melanie did, but then maybe she should have joined us for the ride!)
Funny, breezy and filled with the easily believable dialogue of a ten year old (complete with doodles on the pages!) This is a great book for would-be travelers of all ages.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Diary Of Melanie Martin is a book about a young girl called Melanie. She flies to Italy with her family on an airplane when she had never been out of the U.S.A. She loved the thought going to a foreign country, but things didn't turn out how she expected... I liked this book and all the characters in it. My favorite part of the book was when Melanie just went back home to the U.S.A. She had realized a lot about her family and learned some important values. Melanie inspired me to be nicer to my sibling, as she did in the book. I definitely recommend this book to anybody who has a sibling, or who has never been out of his or her country. In this book, she gives the lesson about trying new things and taking risks. I am sure that anybody who reads this book will learn some useful information about life! Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gwynne C. Spencer on February 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you loved the Amelia books by Marissa Moss, you are going to go gaga over Melanie Martin and her world-class travel adventures with her family. Funny, touching, full of great details, how can you NOT love a book that has a map at the beginning? Like all the Melanie Martin books, this one encourages kids to travel widely in their imaginations and come home changed by their encounters. too bad all the adults who travel BADLY don't read Melanie before they head out! Great gift for any age Italian-bound tourist.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Ten-year-old Melanie Martin is absolutely ecstatic to have the chance to visit Italy with her family. After all, how many 10-year-old kids get to visit a foreign country, and miss a day of school to do so? However, the minute Melanie steps on the plane headed for her lovely vacation destination, she realizes that maybe this isn't going to be the greatest vacation ever, what with her art-obsessed Mom dragging her to every museum in the country, her pain of a little brother, Matt, and her grumpy Father in tow. But as Melanie begins discovering poetry, Michelangelo, and Italian ice cream, as well as the true meaning of family, she begins realizing that maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. After all, having an annoying family is better than having no family at all, right?
GIRLS' LIFE advice columnist, Carol Weston, has proved that she knows more than her fair share about being a 10-year-old girl, forced to go on a family vacation, especially a family vacation to another country, and that knowledge shines through in Melanie Martin's voice. Melanie is a cute character, who young readers will relate to magnificently, seeing as how she she makes a big deal out of the tiniest dilemmas. Her younger brother, Matt, will find older siblings identifying with Melanie as well, as there is no older sibling who has not experienced the same aggravation that Matt causes Melanie. With short poems, and hand-drawn doodles littering every chapter, THE DIARY OF MELANIE MARTIN: OR HOW I SURVIVED MATT THE BRAT, MICHELANGELO, AND THE LEANING TOWER OF PIZZA, is sure to be a pleaser.
Erika Sorocco
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
A must read with the monalisa, sistin chapel, and boots the cat. Also it has ton of poetry. The book makes your mouth water for more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TR on March 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having traveled to Italy with my family when I was twelve, The Diary of Melanie Martin called back dozens of similar memories of all the museums which were endured with the promise of gelato and of the delicious food which Weston describes to mouth-watering perfection. Reading this book, I kept on wishing it had been around for my family vacation so that my brother and I could have played "Point out the Naked People" during our museum tours; now I can only wholeheartedly recommend it to every member of a family planning a trip to Italy or just looking for a funny and truthfully-written book too perfetto to be missed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Katerina Canyon on November 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I used this book for our Mother-Daughter book club and the girls thoroughly enjoyed it (all age 9). Out of the five girls, only one girl didn't like it, and we believe it's because she and Melanie were too much alike. During the book club, they enjoyed talking about the poems Melanie wrote and trying to say the Italian words. They related tremendously with Melanie and they were all very excited to discuss her adventures through Italy.
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