Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Megan McDonald
Illustrator:   Peter H. Reynolds 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Candlewick, 2016   ISBN: 978-0763679958

One day Judy is looking for something in Grandma Lou’s handbag when she finds a piece of paper with a list on it. Being an avid list writer, Judy considers herself to be a connoisseur of lists, and so she is delighted when the list proves not to be your run of the mill shopping list; the words “Bucket List” are written at the top of Grandma Lou’s missive. Judy has no idea what a bucket list is and so she asks Grandma Lou about it.

Grandma Lou explains that the items on the list are the things that she would like to do before she dies. She has no intention of dying any time soon, but she does want to make sure that she does the things that matter to her.

Judy loves the idea of a bucket list and writes down her own list of the things that she would like to do. The things on her list include: inventing something, learning how to do a cartwheel properly; getting triple stickers on her homework; learning how to play a musical instrument; and visiting Antarctica, Elizabeth Blackwell’s house, and London (so that she can ride on the London Eye.)

The list is a long one so Judy does not waste any time. The first thing she manages to do is to invent something. Admittedly her Ouchless Hairbrush turns out to be pretty useless when it comes to getting hair tidy, but it doesn’t hurt when you use it so it is not a complete failure.

Next she tries to raise the money she is going to need to go to Antartica and this turns out to be a lot harder to do than one would think. Judy even agrees to pooper scoop people’s yards to make money, but the amount she raises is so small that she soon has to accept that going to Antarctica might be one of those wishes that won’t happen in the near future.

Learning how to cartwheel also turns out to be quite hard to do but, after a rather big setback, Judy is able to get triple stickers on her homework. The fact that she had to work really hard to get the stickers (with a lot of help from her little brother) makes the achievement that much sweeter.

One of the things on Judy’s list is learning how to play a musical instrument. Judy goes to the music room with her friend Frank and there she tries all the instruments to see if she can find one that suits her. Unfortunately, everything Judy tries sounds terrible and she begins to get very despondent indeed. She is going to “kick the bucket for real” before she is going to be able to cross “Learn a musical instrument” off her list.

When Judy Moody gets interested in doing something, she makes a mission of it. She focuses on the end goal with great determination and nothing distracts her from her purpose. This is certainly true in this quest, but what makes the story really interesting is the way in which little adventures happen on her journey that are delightful in their own right.

Readers who have met Judy Moody in earlier Judy Moody adventures are going to thoroughly enjoy this addition to the book series. The lucky children who have not encountered this precocious girl before have a treat awaiting them.