cover image Judy Moody (Book #1)

Judy Moody (Book #1)

Megan McDonald. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0685-5

McDonald's (the Beezy books) comical novel introduces the entertainingly mercurial Judy Moody. The book itself has a look as fresh as its heroine (a compact trim size and an inventive jacket design die-cut that reveals the bright green and orange of the cover below). From the start, Judy devises intriguing solutions to her dilemmas. The book opens on the first day of third grade, with a hilarious spread in pen-and-ink wash showing only Judy's feet sticking up from her bed as her mother attempts to rouse her from the doorway. What to wear? Judy has no T-shirt to rival her classmates' shirts touting their exotic summer destinations, so the heroine decorates a plain white T with a drawing of a shark and the words ""I Ate a Shark."" For a ""Me collage"" at school, she insists that her cat, Mouse, is too old to qualify for the ""My Favorite Pet"" slot; unable to find a two-toed sloth, she purchases a Venus flytrap and proceeds to overfeed it raw hamburger. Her relationship to her best friend, Rocky, and her second-grade brother, Stink, also propel the plot in diverting directions, and the dialogue is spot-on (e.g., when aspiring doctor Judy gets her kit in the mail, Stink asks, ""Why can't I ever be Elizabeth Blackwell, First Woman Doctor?"" and she responds, ""For one thing, you're a boy""). It's hard to imagine a mood Judy couldn't improve. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)