Melanie Martin Goes Dutch: The Private Diary of My Almost Bummer Summer with Cecily, Matt the Brat, and Vincent Van Go Go Go

Melanie Martin Goes Dutch: The Private Diary of My Almost Bummer Summer with Cecily, Matt the Brat, and Vincent Van Go Go Go

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by Carol Weston

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Written by the advice columnist of Girls’ Life magazine, this hilarious companion to The Diary of Melanie Martin finds Melanie off to Holland–with her best friend!

Dear Diary, You will never ever believe this! It is too good to be true!! Guess who is going with us to Amster Amster Dam Dam Dam? Cecily!

Since Cecily’s


Written by the advice columnist of Girls’ Life magazine, this hilarious companion to The Diary of Melanie Martin finds Melanie off to Holland–with her best friend!

Dear Diary, You will never ever believe this! It is too good to be true!! Guess who is going with us to Amster Amster Dam Dam Dam? Cecily!

Since Cecily’s mom is having surgery, Melanie’s parents invite Cecily on their family trip to Holland. Melanie thinks having her best friend along will be terrific. But things don’t go exactly as expected. First Melanie loses her luggage, and soon it looks like she’ll lose Cecily’s friendship.

But Holland isn’t a total disaster. Along the way, Melanie learns to look through the eyes of van Gogh, Vermeer, and Anne Frank. Soon she discovers that being a good friend means seeing the world through your best friend’s eyes, too.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Melanie Martin Goes Dutch: The Private Diary of My Almost Bummer Summer with Cecily, Matt the Brat, and Vincent van Go Go Go by Carol Weston provides yet another perspective on the European vacation, first visited in The Diary of Melanie Martin or: How I Survived Matt the Brat, Michelangelo, and the Leaning Tower of Pizza. A trip to Holland turns (almost) torturous when the fourth-grader's best friend starts buddying up with her obnoxious brother. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Melanie Martin, whom readers first met during her family's trip to Italy, is on the go again, this time to the Netherlands. This time around, almost-fifth-grader Melanie is even more excited to go abroad, because her best friend Cecily is joining Melanie, her parents, and her younger brother Matt on their adventure. Melanie's mother is traveling on a grant to study art, so museums are certainly on the Martins' itinerary, but they also engage in other Dutch pastimes such as bicycling and visiting a cheese market. Melanie's cultural observations, as well as her descriptions of her family, are breezy and funny. Her honest takes on Dutch culture, particularly on the food, are spot-on for a pre-teen traveling abroad. The novel's lighthearted tone is balanced by two serious issues: Cecily's mother's breast cancer and Melanie's growing sense of connection to fellow diarist Anne Frank, whose house she visits in a particularly poignant scene. Armchair travelers will enjoy accompanying Melanie on her trip, and many will find Melanie's diary so entertaining that they might not even realize that they're learning something along the way. 2002, Alfred A Knopf,
— Norah Piehl
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-In the summer before fifth grade, Melanie Martin records her thoughts and rhyming verses. At about the same time, her mother wins a grant to study the art of Vincent van Gogh in Amsterdam and decides to take the whole family along. Melanie dreads spending the vacation with her younger brother, "Matt the Brat," and leaving her best friend, Cecily. When Melanie's family learns that Cecily's mother has breast cancer and will need time to recover from surgery, they invite Cecily to join them. At first, Melanie is thrilled, despite the anxiety they all share for Cecily's mother's health. However, as the trip progresses, she begins to resent the fact that her family seems to enjoy her friend's company more than hers. In time, Melanie learns not only about Amsterdam's history and culture, but also how to relate to others in a considerate, honest manner. Her entries are bouncy and sometimes overly gushy (as diaries sometimes are), yet convey growing sensitivity to other people's feelings. Melanie presents information in an accessible manner that sometimes borders on the didactic or merely vague. Throughout her vacation, she reads Anne Frank's diary and considers how the girl's words resonate with the world today. Children who enjoyed the humor in Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin's P. S. Longer Letter Later (Scholastic, 1998) will especially enjoy this title.-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The subtitle and cover set the tone, writing style, and scene for this breezy, fun, lighthearted read that quite naturally folds in contemporary issues of breast cancer fears and the meaning of intolerance. Told in diary format like its predecessor (The Diary of Melanie Martin, 2000), Mel's bubbly personality recounts the family's summer trip to Amsterdam when her mom, an art teacher, receives a grant to study van Gogh. Mel's BFF (Best Friend Forever), Cecily, is invited to go along while her mom undergoes and recovers from breast cancer surgery. Mel's excitement over having Cecily on the trip quickly turns to annoyance when her best friend pays more attention to Matt, her six-and-a-half-year-old brother. Mel's daily diary entries recount the week's adventures that include lost luggage (for days), Matt's lost baby tooth, and her sense of loss of parental approval and feeling left out. The diary device works especially well: Mel's "quippy" poems are clever and funny and express her feelings; she phonetically spells out Dutch words; and her penchant for using words three times for emphasis are all so, so, so right for the voice of the character. The venue of Amsterdam is an opportunity for Mel to discover the Dutch masters, to relate passages from Anne Frank's diary to her own life, and to compare the Dutch ways of doing things to home in New York City. This can stand alone without having read the first and the ending leaves the door open for more stories. Go, go, go girl. (Fiction. 7-10)
From the Publisher
“[A] quirky kid pleaser”–Vanity Fair

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

June 15


Dear Brand New Diary,

I can’t believe it!

This was the best day EVER!

School is out, and I, Melanie Martin, am almost a fifth grader.

5th grade!!!

Today at the end-of-fourth-grade party, everybody said my cupcakes were delicious—even Christopher.

Yesterday after we baked, Mom helped me hide them on top of the refrigerator so Dad wouldn’t accidentally eat any. Why? Because last time I made cupcakes, Dad gobbled one up without asking permission—and I ended up with twenty cupcakes for twenty-one kids. The next day on the walk to school, I was balancing my cupcake tray and hoping hoping hoping someone would be absent.

Trust me. It does not make you feel proud of yourself to be hoping that someone in your class is stuck at home sneezing or barfing. It makes you feel like a bad person. But when you don’t have enough cupcakes to go around, everybody except you gets a cupcake, and you have to sit at your desk pretending you didn’t want one anyway.

I am not that good a person!

Anyway, today was perfect. I brought in the right number of cupcakes, the party was fun, and even Miss Sands was in a great mood. Plus, it was a half day, so we got out at 12:00 instead of 3:00! And almost no homework until September!!


(I wrote “almost” because we have to read “at least one long book” and write “at least a hundred words” about what we learned from it.)

The best thing about vacation is that Cecily and I can spend every minute together and have a ton of sleepovers. And not just on weekends!

Mom loves summer vacation too. She just started a five hundred-piece puzzle of a painting of sunflowers. She says puzzles are her “summertime relaxation.”

She also says that the only thing she loves more than teaching is vacationing. She says it’s much easier to keep track of two kids than a whole class.

I wonder if that’s true.

After all, one of her kids is Matt the Brat.

4-EVER yours

Melanie Martin, Almost Fifth Grader

June 22

afternoon on the sofa

Dear Diary,

Is this going to be a bummer summer?

School has been out for only a week, and—even though I would never admit this to anybody—I sort of miss it. I don’t mean waking up early or doing homework or Miss Sands. I mean lunch, recess, art, music, P.E., library, and my friends.

Cecily hasn’t been around at all. She’s been with her dad. She sent me a postcard from Washington, D.C.

I wish my family would go somewhere.

I wish Cecily would come back.

At home, it’s just me and Matt the Brat.

Of all the brothers in the world, I can’t believe mine is Matt. When baby boys were being given out, Mom and Dad obviously got in the wrong line. (I think they got into the reptile line.)

To be perfectly honest, Matt and I were actually starting to get along this spring. But then he got seriously annoying again.

He loves to play games. He has ever since he was two. Maybe even before that. He used to sit in his diaper and play “How big is Maaaaaaatt?” “Sooooooo big!” all day long with a dopey two-tooth smile on his face.

Now all he ever wants to do is play Clue Jr. He lives to shout, “Mortimer Mustard hid the bird in the bank!” or “Polly Peacock hid the turtle in the wig shop!”

It gets old.

Or maybe I’m getting old for junior games.

Last night I mumbled to Dad that I was bored.

“Bored?!” Dad said with absolutely no sympathy. “I can think of plenty of things for you to do.” So he made me put away dishes and alphabetize his CDs and do a million trillion chores.

Chores chores chores! I was going to accuse him of child abuse, but he would have rolled his eyes and said, “Melanie, pleeeease!”

Once, I did say, “Child abuse! Child abuse!” on the subway and Dad got mad and said it’s no joke and what if police officers had taken me seriously? He said I should appreciate the parents I have.

Personally, I think my parents should appreciate me—and understand that I need to be with kids my own age.

My own age: ten and a half. Not Matt’s age: six and a half.


Melanie the Misunderstood

June 26

morning in Dad’s BIG soft chair

Dear Diary,

Cecily gets back today!

I just called her but I wish I hadn’t. When I said, “Is Cecily there?” instead of saying a simple “No,” Cecily’s mom said, “Melanie, it’s more polite to say, ‘Hello, Mrs. Hausner, this is Melanie. May I please speak to Cecily?’”

I mumbled, “Okay.” But I felt like saying, “I wasn’t calling to get a manners lesson. I was calling to talk to my best friend.”

Cecily’s mom is usually pretty nice. I like when she invites me for dinner or to a movie. And I like that she always has big bags of marshmallows and little bags of M&M’s just for us. And I like that last week she helped us have a book sale on Broadway and we both made fifteen dollars.

I don’t like that she’s strict about making us take off our shoes and hang up our sweaters. I also don’t like that I have to call her Mrs. Hausner when Cecily gets to call my mom Miranda. (Not that Cecily ever does. She never really calls her anything.)

Anyway, right now I am trying to write, but Matt found some of that plastic bubbly wrap that Mom uses for delicate objects and he put it on the floor and started driving all over it on his scooter. He says he’s not stopping until he has popped every last bubble.

It sounds like firecrackers.

Matt also has tongue twisters on the brain. He made me say “unique New York, unique New York, unique New York” over and over, so I told him to say “I’m a silly little idiot” five times fast. Then I said, “Matt, if you want to be annoying, go into your room.”

He said, “It’s no fun being annoying by myself.”

Yours with a sigh


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Carol Weston is the author of The Diary of Melanie Martin and Girl Talk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Melanie Martin Goes Dutch 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My daughter read this when she was nine and reread it at twelve and loved it both times. Wonderful novels work at different levels and this one is a winner! Younger kids will like the adventure of going abroad with a best friend. Older kids will see that even as Melanie is writing her diary, she is also reading Anne Frank's diary and becoming a better more thoughtful person. Bottom line: This is a terrific funny and surprisingly deep book that kids can't put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! In a summary: Melanie Martin a (ten-year old New York girl) had an almost bummer summer. When her best-friend Cecily and her bratty brother Matt become fond of each other Melanie gets a little jealous. Then, later she finds out that her best-friend Cecily's mom has a disease called Breast-Cancer; Cecily gets a little worried about her mom undergoing surgery. So the Martin family offers to take Cecily on vacation with them,which goes haywire. They have lost their luggage and have seen a TOPLESS beach. Can this vacation get any worse?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carol Weston did it again. Melanie Martin Goes Dutch is awesome. It made me laugh but it also made me cry--and not all books can do that. It's cleverly written and a total page turner, and I definitely recommend it. And once you finish reading it, you should read The Diary of Melanie Martin (it's a series!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Melanie Martin ROX! This girl should seriously have her own TV show and huge book series. She's really clever and funny, With her diary guiding her, Melanie gets through a LOT of troubles-like losing her best friend (almost!), eating disgusting food and cheese, and wearing the same clothes for a long time! Melanie is soooooooo hilarious and creative,you'll fall in love! Melanie truly is the bomb!!!!