Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moss (Mel's Diner) designs this upbeat, first-person story to resemble a real diary; the cover bears the familiar black-and-white abstract design of a composition book, decorated with color cartoons by Amelia, the book's nine-year-old ``author.'' Inside, on lined pages, Amelia writes about her recent move to a new town, doodles pictures of people she meets and saves such mementos as postage stamps and a birthday candle. She misses her best friend, Nadia, but her moments of sadness are balanced by optimism-she distracts herself by drawing and by writing short stories. In appropriately conversational terms, Amelia complains that her big sister invades her privacy (``So Cleo if you are reading this right now-BUG OFF and STAY OUT''); gripes about cafeteria food (``Henna says they use dog food. I believe it!''); and jokes in classic elementary-school gross-out fashion. Readers will understand Amelia's wish to put her ``top secret'' thoughts on paper, and they'll notice that even though she's uneasy about attending a different school, she's starting over successfully. An on-target presentation. Ages 7-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Amelia's Notebook employs the format of the old black and white bound notebook that everyone has used at one time or another in elementary school. It is the story of a young girl and her first attempt at keeping a journal. Given to her by her mother on their arrival in a new town, Amelia proceeds to record every feeling and event of her daily life as well as using her notebook as a doodling pad and scrapbook. Amelia has created a wonderful memory of her life that is fun to share. Her efforts will inspire students who are having a difficult time beginning a journal of their own, whether at home or school. It's a nice resource for the classroom.
Moss may have her name on the title page, but this is really Amelia's book. The feisty, make-believe nine-year-old takes on a life of her own as she writes and draws her feelings about moving, starting a new school, and making new friends (some antagonism toward her older sister, Cleo, who "picks her nose with her little finger," sneaks in as well). A colorful riot of childlike drawings and lots of hand-printed text spill every which way across the pages. Both the language and the art style are on target for the age group--Amelia is droll and funny and not too sophisticated for her years; she's also poignant and real as she longs for her "far-away" friend and takes tentative steps to find one close by.