Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Amelia’s 5th Grade Notebook

Amelia’s 5th Grade Notebook

Marissa Moss
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2003   ISBN: 978-1416909125

Amelia has decided that she is going to keep a notebook for a whole year, her 5th grade year. She is hoping that if she looks at “a whole year of writing, there will be more good stuff than bad.” At the end of the year she will assess her “Scale of Days,” and see which side will be heavier. Will good stuff outweigh bad stuff?

   Amelia begins by telling (and showing) us what she loves about fall, and what she hates about the season. She loves getting school supplies, but she hates buying new clothes because then she sees, once again, how much she hasn’t grown since last year. Being the smallest person in her class is rather tiresome, but then something happens that makes Amelia feel bigger.

   All the fifth graders are expected to help out with the younger kids in the school, and Amelia is given the job of reading to the kindergarteners every Friday. Amelia is nervous at first, but then she gets involved in telling her story and she forgets to be worried and starts to enjoy herself instead. Amelia realizes then that she might not be very tall, but to the kindergarteners she is a big kid.

  In the winter section of her journal, Amelia once again tells is her pet loves and pets hates for that season. For example she loves “making snow creatures,” but she doesn’t love shoveling snow. She loves presents, but she does not enjoy writing thank you notes.

   Valentine’s Day arrives every winter and now that Amelia is a fifth grader, getting a Valentine’s Day card means something. It means that someone likes you, as in really likes you. Amelia is rather surprised when she gets a card and chocolates from Max. She does not know what to do because she likes Max as a friend but nothing more than that. When he starts behaving in a really moony and strange way, Amelia decides that she has to talk to him, but she does not how to settle this problem without hurting Max’s feelings. Then she finds out that she needn’t have worried after all, and what a relief that is.

   In summer Amelia and her friends Carly and Maya join the Italian club and they come to realize that learning Italian is not as easy as they thought it would be. In fact, it is quite hard and when the club goes to an Italian restaurant (and they have to order their food in Italian) some amusing things happen.

   Amelia is the kind of girl that everyone will be able to identify with. It is fun to read through her journal, which is handwritten and is full of little illustrations and doodles. Just like any ordinary fifth grader, Amelia makes mistakes, some of which are quite dramatic. Thankfully she has good moments too.

   This is one of the books in the Amelia’s Notebook series, each one of which is sweetly humorous, and cleverly insightful.