Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mallory Vs. Max

Mallory Vs. Max

Laurie Friedman
Illustrator:  Tamara Schmitz 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Lerner, 2006   ISBN: 978-1575058634

Mallory is very upset because her brother Max has been told that he can get a pet dog. Mallory cannot understand why Max wants a dog. The McDonald family already has a cat, Cheeseburger, so why would they want to spoil things by getting a dog. Mallory stages a protest listing ten reasons why they should not get a dog, and she is outraged when her protests are firmly shot down.

The following Saturday, the entire family goes to the pet store to look at dogs. Mallory is annoyed on many fronts. Not only does she not want Max to get a dog, but her Saturday routine has been upset, and her friend Joey has enthusiastically agreed to help Max choose a dog. Joey is supposed to be her friend, and he has defected to the enemy.

Joey’s big sister Winnie warns Mallory that the new dog will be treated as if it is “the president.” Mallory already feels that Max gets too much attention as it is, and now she finds out that there is a chance that this situation is only going to get worse.

Max does not like any of the dogs at the pet store, so the next day the family goes to a farm to look at some puppies. Joey goes along, and Mallory’s friend Mary Ann meets them at the farm so that Mallory can have some company. Unfortunately, Mary Ann pretty much ignores Mallory. She, and everyone else, is far too interested in looking at the puppies.

This being ignored business only gets worse when they take the new puppy, Champ, home. Champ becomes the center of attention, and when Mallory complains, she is told that she needs to change her “attitude” or she will be “punished.” How unfair!

Change is inevitable, but this does not mean it is easy to get used to. In this funny and at the same time sensitive book, we see how one girl struggles to deal with a change in her life. In addition to accepting that life never stays the same, she has to come to terms with the idea that she can’t always be the center of attention, and that being part of a family means that you have to learn how to be a part of a team.

This is the third book in the Mallory series, and like all the other books, it is written from Mallory’s point of view. The story is punctuated with Mallory’s lists, letters, and other documents.

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