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Muggie Maggie

Muggie Maggie

4.0 38
by Beverly Cleary, Kay Life (Illustrator)

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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,


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!

Editorial Reviews

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
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.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.93(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.51(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.

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.

Brief Biography

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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Muggie Maggie 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maggie hates writing in cursive because it frustrates her when she makes mistakes and sometimes she gets bullied because they call her Muggie Maggie. Maggie gets stubborn and her parents try everything from restrictions from the computer to stationary gifts from her father's secratary. The truth is that all Maggie needs is some practice. Join Maggie in her sweet story of trumpith and courage.
shadowPH More than 1 year ago
my 8 year old daughter loved this book. It's easy reading and a fun story. She couldn't put it down!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
We read this story in our 3rd grade class and we loved it. It encourages kids that if they want to do something they have to give it a try. This book helps kids learn to read cursive. 'It helped us!' A lesson we learned was if you are the office messenger like Maggie was, you should not peek at notes. You should definitely read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great even good for third grade gradeuates. Young children will love to read this book and see the exciting story inside this book. read this book and see if your like Maggie and what she does. To solve her life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maggie ii kikiki
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book about a girl who doesn't like cursive and won't learn it. This is SUPER BORING!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello, Barnes & Noble have a very important announcement about reviews and rating collum. You guys need to stop using it as a chat roome because then people who are actually looking for a review are not going to find one because of all the chatting messages. Please stop or else we will shut down the rate and review collum or we will shut down your Barnes & Noble account, ot ban your nook from rating or review collums. Please be considerate of others and do not wrute anything in the rate and review collum unless yiur reviewing the book. Sincerly, Barnes & Noble nook moderating system
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not like that she was scared to do cursive
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love muggie maggie because it is cool?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting, funny and a must-read. It will keep you turning the pages! I also recomend "socks" by beverly cleary Both books are totally awesome written by my favorite author!(socks is my fav orite book)
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jim tsai More than 1 year ago
I loved it because it is a girl who is struggling with cursive but eventally does it. JUST LIKE ME!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Muggie Maggie is a great book for young readers. How are just learning how to write script. That may have the same problem she has so read this exciting book to see what's wrong with Maggie. And how she got the tittle Muggie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You just won a free Samsung IPhone.