Children’s Fiction of 2008: For the Younger Set

Alice’s Birthday Pig by Tim Kennemore

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes by Peggy Gifford.

Both of these books are short, fifty-four (regular kid) pages and one hundred fifty-six (profusely illustrated and low print ratio) pages, respectively. Both of these books are appropriate for second and third grade readers who are ready for chapter books, but not interested in intricate plot and heavy subject matter. Both of these books feature a girl protagonist as indicated in the titles. Both of these books have a family setting and a gentle surprise ending.

Alice’s Birthday Pig is old-fashioned sweet fiction for little girls. Alice does have a little sister, Rosie, who’s a three year old tornado. And she does have an older brother who’s annoyingly pretentious and bossy and a tease. The story is all about the lead-in to Alice’s eighth birthday and about the pet pig that Alice really, really wants but doesn’t think her parents will get for her. The book would make a perfect accompanying gift book for an eight year old girl who’s getting a pet for Christmas or birthday, even if that gift is not a pig.

The Moxy Maxwell book is somewhat bolder and sassier than Alice’s Birthday Pig, mostly because Moxy has more “moxie” than Alice. Moxy has a brother, too, Mark, her twin, and Mark is “the second-most-famous photographer on Palmetto Lane.” The book is illustrated with Mark’s candid photographs. Moxy also has a little sister, Pansy, who’s “practicing to be a turtle—which was what she wanted to be when she grew up.” Moxy’s immediate problem is a list of twelve people to whom she needs to write thank-you notes on this the day after Christmas, and until she writes the thank-you notes, her mom won’t allow her to get ready to go visit her father who’s “a Big Mover and Shaker out in Hollywood.” The story has an I-Love-Lucy feel to it as Moxy gets herself deeper and deeper into trouble while trying to avoid writing the thank-you notes.

Moxy Maxwell has made an appearance in children’s literature before in last year’s Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little (Semicolon review here). Alice, as far as I know, is a new girl on the block. Both of these books have “Christmas present” written all over them. Choose according to the little girl recipient’s personality and preferences. Alice is for the ladylike animal lover who might have to deal with a teasing brother or a pesky little sister; Moxy is for the more active and trouble-prone girl of a thousand ideas who has trouble staying on task.

More bloggers love Moxy Maxwell:

Eva’s Book Addiction: “How I love a book with plenty of white space, BIG chapter names but very short chapters, and at least a sprinkling of funny illustrations, and I think I’m not alone. Those who share my proclivities will embrace the new Moxy Maxwell book.”

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading: “Only Moxy can make not writing thank-you notes so entertaining.”

3 thoughts on “Children’s Fiction of 2008: For the Younger Set

  1. I like the cover art on the Moxy book. I know that’s not the deepest reason to like a book but there you have it.

  2. You hit the nail on the hit with your “Christmas present” comment. We’re starting to make our lists, and books are definitely on them!

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