Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘Judy Moody Predicts the Future

They’re funny!” That’s how a student of mine described the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald. After reading a few samples, I can offer other reasons too. Judy is typically upbeat. Even when in a mood, she’s isn’t mean. Judy mostly likes her family. Even if she can count on her brother for a bad mood, she still voluntarily hangs out with him. She mostly likes school. Even when she isn’t top student, she tries to be. Judy is your average, cheerful but sometimes confused or selfish, pleasant third-grader. As such, the series is a delight to read.
My student’s favorite book in the series? Judy Moody Predicts the Future. My student describes it as, “Judy Moody gets a mood ring.” Anyone remember those? I do. And I wanted one as much as Judy, who ate seven bowls of cereal for one. MacDonald reveals that her inspiration arose from her having one herself in the sixties. When mood rings started making a comeback (the book was published in 2003), she knew Judy had to have one.

Mood ring

Image via Wikipedia

Problem is, Judy’s mood ring doesn’t work. It stays black. She throws it away in disgust. Her brother retrieves it–yes, from the trash. Ew! Suddenly, the mood ring works. Now Judy wants it back. Of course, Stink wants to keep it. Judy cons him into returning it, by convincing him that she can predict the future. By all means, someone with her powers should own a magical ring. Here, her adventures have only just begun. She explores all kinds of other superstitions such as the Magic 8 ball. Remember those? And she tries to predict love.

Sometimes the habit of the characters to say cutesy educational statements such as “S is for Saturday,” “R is for Romantic,” and “M is for Moody” felt a little forced. As did some of the alliterate phrases such as “Tasty Tuna Treat”. At times, I felt as if reading a picture book instead of a funny chapter book. Other times, I appreciated how the descriptive phrases so perfectly fit that of the third-grade world. For example, when in a good mood, Judy liked to wear a “not itchy fuzzy green sweater with a green star”. In her room, she had “troll doll trading cards, an eyeball piggy bank, and some cat erasers”. Two of my favorite descriptions are of Judy’s emotions: “only cookie left was a broken heart” and “joyful on top of the world purple”.

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream

Image via Wikipedia

As for the humor, it can be found in character expressions such as “eeny, meany, green zucchini,” in the pranks Judy plays such as when she put a fake hand in the toilet to play a trick on Stink, or in the jokes she makes up. When Judy and a friend went to the library, they read about how Jeane Dixon could see stuff in whipped cream. The article meant she could see the future, but Judy joked that she sees lots of stuff in whipped cream too: “like chocolate sprinkles”. The humor is also found in the situations MacDonald creates. For example, after Judy reads about a guy who could spell by sleeping with a dictionary, she tries to pass her spelling test in the same manner. And after she decides her teacher is in love, she reads a bunch of books about how to predict love and to tell a person’s lover. Some of her experiments fail; others have more positive results; all are funny.

Having read Judy Moody Predicts the Future, I want to thank my student for introducing the series to me. The books are light and pleasurable reads for adults. Ironically, I felt at times as if reading about my childhood. As for my elementary-aged students, I will definitely be recommending they check out the whole series.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate it?

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