Muggie Maggie
  • Muggie Maggie
  • Muggie Maggie

Muggie Maggie

4.0 38
by Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray

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In this humorous and relatable novel from Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary, a girl must overcome her rebellious attitude toward learning cursive.

At first, Maggie is just feeling stubborn when she declares she won't learn cursive. What's wrong with print, anyway? And she can easily type on a computer, so why would she need to know how to read

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In this humorous and relatable novel from Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary, a girl must overcome her rebellious attitude toward learning cursive.

At first, Maggie is just feeling stubborn when she declares she won't learn cursive. What's wrong with print, anyway? And she can easily type on a computer, so why would she need to know how to read those squiggly lines? But soon all her classmates are buzzing about Maggie's decision, especially after her teacher, Mrs. Leeper, says Maggie's cursive is so sloppy that her name looks like "Muggie."

With "Muggie Maggie" ringing in her ears, Maggie absolutely, positively won't back down...until she's appointed class mail messenger. All the letters that Mrs. Leeper sends to the office are in cursive, and Maggie thinks they are written about her. But there's only way to know for what's Maggie going to do?

For generations, Beverly Cleary has captivated readers of all ages with beloved characters such as Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse. Muggie Maggie follows suit with what School Library Journal calls "a likable, funny heroine whom readers will want to know."

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Editorial Reviews

The Horn Book
“Cleary’s usual perception and understanding of children, her ability to appeal to readers on several levels, and her humor are as enjoyable as ever.”
Horn Book
Cleary's usual perception and understanding of children, her ability to appeal to readers on several levels, and her humor are as enjoyable as ever.
Chicago Tribune
With humor and warmth Mrs.Cleary explores the underlying pride, jealosy, and attachment of her twin characters.
Loaded with one rib-tickling mishap after another.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Emily is vividly real.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New heroine Maggie Schultz emerges as a colorful addition to Cleary's ( Ramona Forever ; Dear Mr. Henshaw ) troupe of memorable characters. As spunky and stubborn as Ramona Quimby but possessing her own unique flair, Maggie is less than eager to meet the challenge of third grade, especially when it comes to learning cursive writing. Her refusal to practice her loops and connect her letters causes quite a stir at school. Some believe Maggie is brave to rebel; others think she is just acting stupid. And, although Maggie has her own reasons for wanting to print, she would like to be able to understand the cursive messages on the blackboard and wishes she could decipher the cryptic notes that she delivers for her teacher. As always, Cleary's skills turn ordinary events into fresh and remarkable occurrences. As vividly depicted as Maggie are her chief tormenter, classmate Kirby, and Mrs. Leeper, the ingenious teacher who finally motivates Maggie to write. Fans who have eagerly awaited a new Cleary novel will find this story wrought with the same understanding and sympathetic humor that have warmed the hearts of two generations of readers. Ages 7 - up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- With the introduction of Maggie Schultz, a feisty and independent third grader, Cleary again gives young readers a real person with whom they can identify and empathize. This deceptively simple story is accessible to primary-grade readers able to read long hand, as some of the text is in script. The plot develops around Maggie's defiant refusal to learn cursive writing, one of the mainstays of the third-grade curriculum. When her mother queries her about how long it might take her to decide to write cursive, Maggie answers, ``Maybe forever.'' All the while she fervently wishes that she had never taken such a stand. The problems Maggie creates for herself at home and at school are handled with deft wit. Her parents are alternately understanding about their daughter's determined desire to be her own person and irritated by her stubbornness and the ensuing requests for school conferences about her uncooperative behavior. How Maggie's savvy teacher accomplishes her goal of getting Maggie to learn cursive without an unpleasant confrontation, or loss of face on either side, is both clever and believable. Everything in this book rings true, and Cleary has created a likable, funny heroine about whom readers will want to know more . Order two copies; you'll need them! --Martha Rosen, Edgewood School, Scarsdale, NY

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Cleary Reissue Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.56(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.21(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

After her first day in the third grade, Maggie Schultz jumped off the school bus when it stopped at her corner. "Bye, Jo Ann," she called to the girl who was her best friend, sometimes. "See you tomorrow." Maggie was happy to escape from sixth-grade boys who called her a cootie and from fourth-grade boys who insisted the third grade was awful, cursive writing hard, and Mrs. Leeper, the teacher, mean.

Her dog, Kisser, was waiting for her. When Maggie knelt to hug him, Kisser licked her face. He was young, eager dog the Schultzes had chosen from the S.P.C.A.'s Pick-a-Pet page in the newspaper. "A friendly cockapoo looking for a child to love" was a description under his picture, a description that proved to be right.

"Come on, Kisser." Maggie ran home with her hair flying and her dog springing along beside her.

When Maggie and Kisser burst through the kitchen door, her mother said, "Hi there, Angelface. How did things go today?" She held Kisser away from the refrigerator with her foot while she put away milk carton and vegetables. Mrs. Schultz was good at standing on one foot because five mornings a week she taught exercise classes to overweight women.

"Mrs. Leeper is nice, sort of," began Maggie, " except she didn't make me a monitor and put Jo Ann at a different table."

"Too bad," said Mrs. Schultz.

Maggie continued. "Courtney sits on one side of me and Kelly on the other and that Kirby Jones, who sits across from me, kept pushing the table into my stomach."

"And what did you do?" Mrs. Schultz was taking eggs out of a carton and setting them in the white plastic egg tray in the refrigerator.

"Pushed itback." Maggie thought a moment before she said, "Mrs. Leeper said we are going to have to have a happy third grade."

"That's nice." Mrs. Shultz smiled as she closed the refrigerator, but Maggie was doubtful about a teacher who forecast happiness.

How did she know? Still, Maggie wanted her teacher to be happy.

"Kisser needs exercise," Mrs. Schultz said. "Why don't you take him outside and give him a workout?" Maggie's mother thought everyone, dogs included, needed exercise.

Maggie enjoyed chasing Kisser around the backyard, ducking, dodging, and throwing a dirty tennis ball, wet with dog spit, for him until he collapsed, panting, and she was out of breath from running and laughing.

Refreshed and much more cheerful, Maggie was flipping through television channels with the remote control, trying to find funny commercials, when her father came home from work. "Daddy! Daddy!" she cried, running to meet him. He picked her up, kissed her, and asked, "How's my Goldilocks?" When he set her down, he kissed his wife.

"Tired?" Mrs. Schultz asked.

"Traffic gets worse every day," he answered.

"Was it your turn to make the coffee?" demanded Maggie

"That's right," grumped Mr. Schultz, half-pretending.

Other than talking with people who came to see him, Maggie did not really understand what her father did in his office. She did know he made coffee every other day because Ms. Madden , his secretary, said she did not go to work in an office to make coffee. He should take his turn. Ms. Madden was such an excellent secretary -- one who could spell, punctuate, and type -- that Mr. Schultz put up with his share of coffee-making. Maggie found this so funny that she always asked about the coffee.

"Did Ms. Madden send me a present?" Maggie asked. Her father's secretary often sent Maggie a little present: a tiny bottle of shampoo from the hotel, a free sample of perfume, and once, an eraser shaped like a duck. Maggie felt grown-up when she wrote thank-you notes on their home computer.

"Not today." Mr. Schultz tousled Maggie's hair and went to change into his jogging clothes.

When dinner was on the table and the family, exercised, happy, and hungry, was seated, Maggie chose the right moment to break her big news. " We start cursive this week," she said with a gusty sigh that was supposed to impress her parents with the hard work that lay ahead.

Instead, they laughed. Maggie was annoyed. Cursive was serious. She tossed her hair, which was perfect for tossing, waving and curling to her shoulders, the sort of hair that made women say, "What wouldn't you give for hair like that?" or, in sad voices, " I used to have hair that color."

"Don't look so gloomy," said Maggie's father. "You'll survive."

How did he know? Maggie scowled, still hurting from being laughed at, and said, "Cursive is dumb. It's all wrinkled and stuck together, and I can't see why I am supposed to do it." This was a new thought that popped into her mind that moment.

"Because everyone writes cursive," said Mrs. Schultz. "Or almost everybody."

"But I can write print, or I can use the computer," said Maggie, arguing mostly just to be arguing.

"I'm sure you'll enjoy cursive once you start," said Mrs. Shultz in that brisk, positive way that always made Maggie feel contrary.

I will not enjoy it, thought, Maggie, and she said, "All those loops and squiggles. I don't think I'll do it."

"Of course you will," said her father. "That's why you go to school."

This made Maggie even more contrary. "I'm not going to write cursive, and nobody can make me. So there."

"Ho-ho," said her mother so cheerfully that Maggie felt three times as contrary.

Mr. Schultz's smile flattened into a straight line. "Just get busy, do what your teacher says, and learn it."

The way her father spoke pushed Maggie further into contrariness. She stabbed her fork into her baked potato so the handle stood up straight, then she broke off a piece of her beef patty with her fingers and fed it to Kisser.

"Maggie, please," said my mother. "Your father has had a hard day, and I haven't had such a great day myself." After teaching her exercise classes in the morning, Mrs. Schultz spent her afternoons running errands for her family: dry cleaner, bank, gas station, market, post office.

Maggie pulled her fork out of her baked potato.

Muggie Maggie. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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