Monday, November 10, 2008

Spirited girls (or is it naughty?)

There is a trio of young girls, original thinkers and independent in their actions, who are (or should be) popular with young readers.

First is Junie B. Jones, created by Barbara Park. Junie starts off as a kindergartner who ages to a first grader after many kindergarten adventures. Junie is full of enthusiasm, doesn't always use proper grammar and is, sometimes, a powerful advertisement for birth control but she is also entertaining and very appealing to young readers. I laughed until the tears were rolling down my cheeks when I read her first adventure, Junie B. Jones and the stupid smelly bus. Her experience with the crutches during her first visit to the nurse's office was priceless. Her first day was so horrendous that it is a wonder she ever went back....

Next is Clementine, created by Sara Pennypacker. Clementine is a third grader, a regular visitor to the principal's office because of a small problem with paying attention. She lives in an apartment building, her father is the caretaker, with her parents and her younger brother who is always referred by a vegetable name. Clementine is full of brilliant ideas which often include her neighbor Margaret, a fourth grader who often pays the price for Clementine's brilliance. Clementine always means well and is blessed with a good heart, even if her judgment is a little questionable.

Last, is Moxy Maxwell, ten year old twin sister of Mark, an aspiring photographer. Moxy is a championship procrastinator with very funny results. In Moxy Maxwell does not love Stuart Little, Moxy spends the entire summer avoiding her summer reading assignment. On the last day of her vacation, Moxy has to face the book she is sure she will hate (she doesn't). In Moxy Maxwell does not love writing thank-you notes, Moxy's mother gives her one day (the day before she leaves for Los Angeles to visit her father, the first time she's seen him in three years) which Moxy fills with packing, using her stepfather's new (and forbidden) printer/copier and a fair share of ten-year-old drama.

All three girls are wonderful companions and great fun to read. And spirited girls are a rarity in this world and they should be encouraged!

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