Nine-year-old Moxy Maxwell sticks close to her copy of Stuart Little all summer - so close, in fact, that the book is now sticky from a lemonade incident and warped with pool water.
Moxy’s summer has been spent mainly at the pool, where she’s perfecting synchronized swimming as a flower petal. August 23 has snuck up on her from out of nowhere. This is the last possible day she has to read Stuart Little. Tomorrow her teacher, Mr. Flamingo, will be testing the class on their Stuart Little summer reading.
Moxy is finding this one hundred and forty-four page mouse book tough to crack open. It’s not because she doesn’t like reading, because she does. In fact, she loves reading - but Stuart Little lost its appeal the minute it was assigned to her. Nevertheless, Moxy plans to read the book in her bedroom, and during “in-betweens.” It’s too bad her plans keep being interrupted by thoughts of Mudd and Rosie training, best friend visits and phone calls, a distractingly dirty room, and a grand idea involving peach pits.
Unfortunately, all these distractions make matters worse for Moxy.
It’s now three o'clock in the afternoon and she stillhasn’t finished Stuart Little.
Her mother said there would be “consequences” if she hadn’t
finished by this time, and there will be no daisy cake or “Goodbye to Summer Splash” party for Moxy now. But Moxy doesn’t seem too concerned. She’s now thinking about new career paths, and paying full (and flash-lighted) attention to Stuart Little.
Moxy Maxwell is full of plans and “Possible Career Paths.” She likes to go errand-shopping, but only when there’s no dry cleaning or fertilizer stops involved, and she knows of a fast way to clean her bedroom. The boys in her life include her twin brother, Mark, and her six-year-old best friend, Sam. Sam harbors a crush on Moxy, but she pretends he doesn’t, and Mark is a self-taught photographer. He documents Moxy’s struggle with Stuart Little on this, her last day of summer. Mark’s nineteen black-and-white photos bring us closer to Molly Maxwell and her family;
my favorite is the one he calls “The End of Time: Still Life with Peaches and Moxy’s Right Arm."
This book reads quickly. Some chapters are less than one page long, and one chapter has a heading which contains more words than the actual chapter does.
Author Peggy Gifford used to tour Ohio long ago as Winnie-the-Pooh. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and she has worked as an editor and acquisitions editor. Her work has appeared in
Redbook, Iowa Review, and Antioch Review. Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little is her first book for children.
Valorie Fisher’s photographs can be seen in museums in Paris and London, and in her books My Big Brother and My Big Sister. She’s written and illustrated several books for children, including How High Can a Dinosaur Count? and Ellsworth's Extraordinary Electric Ears and Other Amazing Alphabet Anecdotes.
One of the reasons I really like this book is because, despite the title, Peggy Gifford has written a story about loving Stuart Little.