September 27 – October 3
There are some things you absolutely need to do and some things you must positively never do, at least, according to Allie Finkle. She has a rule for everything life can hand you. But what happens when even she starts to break her own rules after finding out her family is going to move to the other side of town (which means a new school and friends for Allie)?
Cabot, M. (2008). Moving Day. New York: Scholastic Press.
I actually bought this book for my niece for her 10th birthday. I had never gotten around to reading it prior to this class, but it is a book series that is often requested at my library. I think every child fears the day when their parents say, "We're moving!" This was something I never had to experience, but through conversations with friends I've learned that Allie's and her brother's different reactions to the move are typical of most children. However, I can completely identify with Allie's rules. I think everyone has a set of rules that they hold other people accountable for following, although most of the time we don't know we're expected to follow them! I liked how Allie finally learned some important things about herself and her rules during her transition from her old school to her new school.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Like every other kid lately, nine-year-old Allie Finkle is developing her list of rules for friendships, school situations, family and overall life. Dos and don'ts for any newly minted tween can get pretty complicated when an already unsettling relationship with a so-called best friend is augmented by one's parents' decision to sell their comfortable suburban dwelling and move to an un-renovated Victorian- style, 100-year-old gloomy and possibly haunted house in the city. And, what about the new (really old and crowded) school and a fourth grade filled with unfriendly faces? Allie is stressed but decides to take charge by hatching a scheme to prevent the sale of her suburban house and thus, the move. Cabot's endearing, funny and clever protagonist will have readers simultaneously chuckling and commiserating as succeeding chapters introduce individual 'rules' for Allie to contemplate and accept. Lessons on friendship and fickleness, sneaky behavior, lying, animal cruelty and theft (although paying for a 'rescued' pet turtle that was never for sale may raise some eyebrows) merge to create a humorous and heartwarming story. Allie's first-person voice is completely believable with just the right amount of tongue-in- cheek wit. Despite the now-overdone rules concept, readers will eagerly await Allie's next installment in her new home, school and neighborhood. (Fiction. 8-11). 240pg. VNU EMEDIA, c2008.
[Review of Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day]. (2008 January 1). Kirkus Reviews, pp 38.
From Publishers Weekly:
Signature Reviewed by Rachel Vail. In Cabot's (the Princess Diaries) first foray into novels for kids who are still in single digits, her trademark frank humor makes for compulsive reading--as always. The first installment of a new series presents a nine-year-old girl attempting to impose rules for living on her increasingly complex world. Allie is funny, believable and plucky (of course; all girls are plucky, at least in books), but most of all, and most interestingly, Allie is ambivalent. As the book starts, Allie learns that her family is moving across town. It is a mark of Cabot's insight to understand that, to a nine-year-old, a car ride's separation from the world she has known makes that distance as vast as the universe. Allie will be enrolled in a different elementary school, and will therefore be that most hideous thing: the new kid. To make matters worse, the Finkle family will be moving to a dark, old, creaky Victorian, which, Allie becomes convinced, has a zombie hand in the attic. Moving will mean leaving behind not only her geode collection but also her best friend. And here is where the story deepens. Allie's best friend is difficult. She cries easily and always insists on getting her own way. To keep the peace, Allie makes rules for herself, often after the fact, to teach herself such important friendship truisms as Don't Shove a Spatula Down Your Best Friend's Throat. Mary Kate is the kind of best friend anybody would want to shove a spatula down the throat of, is the thing. As Allie marshals her energies to fight the move in increasingly desperate ways, sophisticated readers may well conclude ahead of Allie that the friends she is meeting at the new school are more fun and better for her than spoiled Mary Kate and the cat-torturer, Brittany Hauser. Coming to this realization on their own, however, is part of the empowering fun. Told from the distinctive perspective of a good- hearted, impulsive, morally centered kid, this is a story that captures the conflicted feelings with which so many seemingly strong nine-year- olds struggle. Ambivalence is uncomfortable. It is also a sign of growing up. Early elementary school is all about primary colors, where rules, imposed by adults, are clear guidelines to good behavior and getting along. The more complex hues of the second half of elementary school, when complicated friendship dynamics begin to outpace the adult-imposed rules of home and school, leave many kids floundering and confused. In the character Allie Finkle, Cabot captures this moment of transition and makes it feel not just real, but also fun, and funny. Rachel Vail's forthcoming novel, Lucky (HarperTeen, May), is the start of a trilogy about three sisters. 240pg. CAHNERS PUBLISHING, c2008.
[Review of Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day]. (2008 February 18). Publishers Weekly, pp 154.
Library Setting Uses:
Since most kids are starting to establish their own opinions of what is right and what is wrong at Allie's age, I think it would be interesting and fun to have older elementary aged children write out 10 rules they think everyone should follow. Then have them read their questions out loud to get the reactions of their peers.