Judy Moody and Friends: April Fools’, Mr. Todd! – written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid

  Judy Moody and Friends: April Fools’, Mr. Todd! – written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid, Candlewick Press, 9780763682002, 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review3.5

Genre:  Realistic fiction (Chapter Book)

What did you like about the book? Like the previous books in the “Judy Moody and Friends” series, McDonald’s text offers an easy read with a funny story.  The book has a story that can be utilized as a tool in social-emotional lessons: Judy exhibits emotions familiar to young readers, offering facial illustrations to match; her class also has a wonderful relationship which becomes apparent even in the first few lines of dialog and is supported by the harmless, but silly pranks that leaves everyone (even the pranked person!) laughing and happy.

As with many chapter books at this level, the story is relatable, short, and silly.  This goes one step further by introducing a holiday as well as some other facts (Did you know that stick bugs will regrow missing limbs?  I know now!).  The author also introduced two plot-points to track of both April Fools’ pranks and Judy’s birthday; though admittedly intertwined, this works toward getting readers more used to the idea of subplots.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Given the quality of dialog and story within the first few books of this series, I was a bit disappointed from the perspective of an educator.  We only explore Judy’s character here and everyone else is left a little two-dimensional, even for an early reader.  Kids will likely still get a kick out of this installment, however.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for readers getting ready for chapter books; with only three chapters and illustrations on every page, this is a good way to get kids comfortable with longer, more complex stories (the same goes for any of these books!).  Great for those ready to graduate from the reading level of “Bink and Gollie.”

Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)

Where would you shelve it ? Chapter book collection (though some may shelve this with Early/Easy readers, depending on your system)

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.  Just an overview of one “Judy Moody and Friends” book is enough to be able to use them in Reader’s Advisory.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: March 23, 2017

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