Muggie Maggieby Beverly Cleary
What's all the fuss about?
At first, Maggie is just being contrary when she tells her parents she doesn't need to learn cursive. Then her teacher, Mrs. Leeper, says Maggie's cursive is so untidy her name looks like Muggie, and Maggie decides she will never, never read or write cursive. Nobody can make her. But when Mrs. Leeper appoints Maggie class mail messenger,… See more details below
What's all the fuss about?
At first, Maggie is just being contrary when she tells her parents she doesn't need to learn cursive. Then her teacher, Mrs. Leeper, says Maggie's cursive is so untidy her name looks like Muggie, and Maggie decides she will never, never read or write cursive. Nobody can make her. But when Mrs. Leeper appoints Maggie class mail messenger, the notes Maggie must carry are in cursive. Maggie can't read the notes, but she suspects some of them are about her. Now she really has a problem!
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.25(w) x 7.72(h) x 1.91(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
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.
Meet the Author
Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.
Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!
Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.
Tracy Dockray is a fine artist and illustrator who has contributed to more than twenty illustrated books, including the bestselling Grimm's Grimmest, Delia at the Delano, and all of Beverly Cleary's highly popular children's books, most notably Ramona. A member of the Society of Illustrators, she holds an MFA from Pratt and lives in New York City.
- Carmel, California
- Date of Birth:
- April 12, 1916
- Place of Birth:
- McMinnville, Oregon
- B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939
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