Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 1/2 Days

Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 1/2 Days

Megan McDonald
Illustrator:   Peter H. Reynolds 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Candlewick, 2008   ISBN: 978-0763635725

Judy Moody likes to think that she is one of a kind. Surely there isn’t another girl out there who collects chewed gum, who admires a woman from the past, and who has a rhyming name. Judy is therefore blown away when she discovers that there is a girl in the other third grade class who is a lot like her. Amy Namey has a rhyming name, she collects chewed gum, and her hero is Nellie Bly, a woman reporter who traveled around the world in 72 days in 1890. At first, Judy is upset. Who wants to be around someone who is just like you? Then Amy invites Judy to join the My-Name-Is-a-Poem club, and Judy becomes quite devoted to her new friend.

At school, the two third grade teachers are inspired by Amy Namey’s talk about Nellie Bly. They decide to do a project where the children in their classes take a trip around the world in eight days, learning about the countries that Nellie Bly visited during her extraordinary adventure. Judy and her friends Rocky, Frank, and Jessica are going to do their project about Italy. They have lots of ideas for their presentation, including performing the Tarantella, an Italian dance.

On Saturday, Judy Moody goes to Amy Namey’s house in the morning. The two girls write letters to other members of the My-Name-Is-a-Poem club, and they also make homemade gum using Judy’s Make Your Own Gum kit. Judy is having so much fun that she fails to keep track of the time and she misses the Tarantella rehearsal at Rocky’s house. To say that Frank, Rocky, and Jessica are annoyed is an understatement. They are furious with Judy for blowing them off. Rocky refuses to even talk to Judy, and tells her, through her brother Stink, that he is quitting the Italy project. Judy is aghast. How will the third grade make its around the world in eight days if Judy and her friends don’t complete their Italy project?

Readers who like the adventures of Judy Moody and her friends will greatly enjoy reading this book. Judy not only learns about Nellie Bly and Italy, but she also learns that she should not ignore her old friends when she makes a new friend. With plenty of humor and a keen appreciation for the situations that children find themselves in, Megan McDonald one again gives us a story that is engaging and memorable.