Holiday Titles Round-Up, Part Four: Two Tween Tales

h1 December 11th, 2007 by jules

Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Candlewick; September 2007; review copy)
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Babymouse #7: Skater Girl by the brother-and-sister wonder duo, Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House; September 2007; review copy)

Here are my . . .

Seven Reasons to Add These Two Books to Your Holiday Reading Stack, If You’re So

. . . Which is Rather Gimmicky, I Know, but I’ve Got a Lot to do This Week Yet Still Want to Mention These Books. So Be It.

Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday:

1). As the earth gets hotter (depressing, but true) you know you pine for the holiday snow (that is, if you don’t already live in a very snowy part of the country). It’s going to be in the mid-70s here in middle Tennessee tomorrow. Humbug. Stink, Judy Moody’s little brother, also really wants a big snowfall. He and Judy live in Virginia, and “my big sister says there’s too much globe warming. My big sister says there’s like a billion-to-one chance for snow this year,” Stink tells the new mailman, Jack Frost.

2). There is a mailman named Jack Frost. Who looks like Santa.

3). The book is briskly-paced and entertaining (if not a tad predictable in terms of the holiday story line), just as the rest of this series is. If Judy Moody had existed when I was a prepubescent girl, I’d have adored her and her well-crafted tween tales.

4). Peter H. Reynolds’ full-color illustrations. I think he’s at his best when doing these very child-centered books (and less these adult books disguised as children’s books).

5). The sparkly cover is not irritating — not actual glitter that comes off on your hands, which would piss off Fuse mightily. And with reason.

6). There is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas party in the narrative. And “Mele Kalikimaka” is one of my favorite holiday tunes. Just sayin’.

7). For all their bickering, the book ends on a lovely, sweeter-than-your-Mama’s-Christmas-cookies note that manages not to be Too Much, as Judy Moody shows she has a big ‘ol soft spot for her brother after all. And there may or may not be real snow. And, if there is, it doesn’t really matter after what Judy does for Stink. A rousing-yet-tender tale which will please fans of the series.

Babymouse #7: Skater Girl:

1). Because it’s Babymouse. I’ve not discussed the Babymouse Phenomenon here at 7-Imp (and I don’t believe Eisha has either). For my part, I figured I’d leave it to other bloggers who were already doing a great job of it, but — as I’m sure you already know (this is the seventh in a series) — Babymouse is sassy, clever, intrepid. And just like most imaginative, adventure-crazy tweens you know. And her stories — told in a manic, pink-and-black comic book format — are perfect for emerging readers and even the so-called reluctant ones, to boot. This latest title in the series delivers in all these ways.

2). Oh, and no, this isn’t technically a holiday title, but Babymouse is determined to learn to ice skate, taking time away from her friends and cupcakes in the process, so it’s a good snowy-time read (if you don’t live in middle Tennessee where it’s currently above a freaky 70 degrees, as mentioned previously).

3). There’s a musical interlude, “A Few of Babymouse’s Favorite Things,” that ends in the type of Babymouse disaster that will make you laugh.

4). This one may have Babymouse’s best, most imaginative excuse yet: A leprechaun tricked her and she slid down a rainbow and fell into a pot of slime.

5). There’s an amusing, little spoof of The Little Engine That Could.

6). Babymouse does not not not abstain from cupcakes throughout the entire book. That would be too depressing.

7). Generally, it has — in the words of the Booklist review (you know I love to throw that stuff in) — “humor, sweetness, and characters so genuine they can pass for real kids.”

There you have it, as my holiday/snowy-books round-up challenge continues. If you missed it last Saturday, here’s what I think are the two very best.

Until next time . . .

8 comments to “Holiday Titles Round-Up, Part Four: Two Tween Tales”

  1. I love both of these series. But I’m a bit confused. Aren’t “tweens” that shaky age after midgrade novels and before YA? I thought these books were for newly independent readers. Just wonderin’.

  2. William and I read The Holly Joliday as part of our Thanksgiving Break. We have read through all the Stink and Judy Moody books, so this was a good choice. He loved it, and was particularly fond of the ending, noting that Judy really does love Stink. Priceless!

  3. Candice, they are. But I think they’re good for confidently-reading tweens, too.

    And anyway don’t ever ever listen to me when it comes to the age range game. I’m awful at it. That’s why I never do the “recommended ages” bit.

    Tricia, glad William enjoyed it. Those full-color illustrations are a nice touch.

  4. Oh, I love the JM series! Didn’t realize this new book was out. Thanks for reviewing it :).

  5. I can attest to the fact that tweens and confident 6-and-three-quarters-year-old readers love both of these series. And I have to admit to having a total soft spot for Babymouse myself…

  6. Thanks for these recommendations! And the Christmas tree poem. And the conversation with MR. You know: the whole megillah.

  7. I (coincidentally) bought Holly Joliday for my niece this afternoon. Whew! Glad to hear you liked it!

    Wish I’d seen the Babymouse book too … I so love her!!

  8. Thanks for the shout-out, guys!
    Jenni & Matt

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