Sunday, April 22, 2012

Read Along on I-94 - Rereading Part 4 - Marty McGuire

This month for Reading Along on I-94, Colby and I have been having fun rereading some of our favorite books! We started off discussing I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, then we discussed Charlotte's Web by E.B. White for two weeks. Now we are discussing Kate Messner's first book in the Marty McGuire series! Colby and I met Kate at NCTE in the fall. She is really nice and exudes a calm-happiness. She's great. If you are new to the series, you'll be excited because after you read Marty McGuire you can race off to read Marty McGuire Digs Worms which was just released this month. Kellee reviewed Marty McGuire Digs Worms last week if you want to hear more about it!

COLBY: If more books like Marty McGuire existed in the world I would be happy guy. Marty is one of my favorite chapter book characters.

JEN: I agree! Kate does a great job of capturing Marty’s spirit. Her attitude comes to life on the pages. Her characters feel like real kids. I found myself wanting to recommend Me...Jane and The One And Only Ivan to Marty since she enjoys Jane Gooddall. It’s not often that I find myself wanting to share books with a character in a book.

COLBY: I LOVE that you want to recommend books to Marty. I’m sure she would love The One and Only Ivan. Who wouldn’t? This makes me think of all kinds of characters that I want to recommend books to, but I want to stay focused on Marty.

The biggest reason that I love Marty is because I know that one day I will share the book with my three children. I’m sure my son will love how much Marty loves science, and I want my daughters to see how cool Marty is. I think that all of Kate’s female protagonists are examples of the type of girl that I hope to raise: smart, creative, not normal. Normal is so BORING.

JEN: I have boys to raise but I hope my boys are always up for something fun. Boring is not in our vocabulary at our house. We do lots of fun stuff and they are usually excited and ready to go. I love that. I don’t want them to say, “No, thanks” when friends want to do something fun...or better yet, I want them to be the ones saying, “Come on!” and finding fun things to do. I also want them to be really thoughtful and kind while still being cool dudes.

I love all the silly names Marty comes up with...although she would NEVER call anyone names. My favorite is on page 46:

“If I were allowed to call people names, I’d call Mrs. Aloi Princess-Pushing Tattle-Tale right now.
But I’m not.
So I don’t. Especially since she’s a teacher and everything.”

I love all the times she talks about wanting to call someone names, but it cracked me up when I read the part about the teacher.

COLBY: I love the names that Marty calls people in her head. I think it’s good for kids to see that it is okay to be frustrated with people, but it’s not okay to always say out loud what you’re thinking inside your head.

JEN: That’s so true! We all think not-so-nice things once in awhile. I love how Kate writes all of her characters. I love Marty’s parents - especially her teacher-dad with his “Learning Is Fun!” tote bag. I love it. How cool is Mrs. Aloi with her maracas? She’s cool. As a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, I love that Mrs. Aloi works with Marty’s family and with people in the community. She calls Marty’s parents as soon as she wants them to talk to her about the play. She invites James Jackson from the local college to work with the kids on their play. She also uses the theme of the play and carries it over into different disciplines. Mrs. Aloi rocks.

COLBY: Since we kind of know Kate, I always try to think if the characters in her books are inspired by people in her family.

Thanks for talking Marty McGuire with me. I hope that Kate, Brian, and Scholastic team up for a bunch more books.


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