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Amazing Monty: More First-Grade Adventures


Amazing Monty: More First-Grade Adventures

written by Johanna Hurwitz, illustrated by Anik McGrory

Monty Morris is about to experience a wide variety of adventures on the day he takes his first-grade class's attendance sheet to the school office. He is such an avid, advanced reader that he reads everything, including cereal boxes, newspaper comics, and letters from his grandmother. As he stands in line in the school office this morning, he notices the bulletin board and browses through different announcements, finally spotting an ad offering a pair of parakeets for free.

Inspiration strikes Monty, who hasn't been able to have a furry pet because of his asthma. Birds don't have fur, he reasons, so maybe he can get those parakeets. He has always wanted a pet --- and he may actually end up with two! His anticipation makes for an extremely long pins-and-needles day at school, even distracting him from his recent obsession with yanking out his first loose tooth.

As soon as he bursts through his own front door after the school day ends, he tells his mother about the free parakeets. Mrs. Morris is a little skeptical at first. She asks the time-honored parental questions, such as, "And who is going to clean out the cage?" But Monty persists with his enthusiasm and his repeated assurances that he will take sole responsibility for the birds. She tells him he'll have to talk to his father about it, which means another eternal wait, but finally Mr. Morris comes home. To Monty's surprise and delight, his dad agrees that he can take the birds. Unfortunately, though, when Monty calls the number from the ad, he finds out that the birds have been promised to someone else.

Monty is so disappointed that "Yankee" and "Doodle" are not destined to become his pets that tears come to his eyes --- and he's so distracted that he doesn't realize he's lost his first tooth. With that event, he dreams up a plan of how to buy a bird on his own. At school the next day, Monty is amazed to discover that Yankee and Doodle are not entirely out of his life. His teacher, Mrs. Meaney (who is so sweet that her students call her "Mrs. Nicey"), presents the parakeets to the children as their new class pets.

The surprises just keep on coming. His parents make a startling announcement at dinner that night: in a few months, he will have a brand new baby sister or brother. Monty has always wanted a sibling, though understandably his emotions on hearing this news are a bit mixed. But he's distracted from his musing the next day when he encounters a rather frightening substitute teacher, whose very presence creates a catastrophe in class.

AMAZING MONTY is a charming entry in this early chapter book series. Author Johanna Hurwitz does a fine job of incorporating adventures to which young readers can relate: losing teeth, class pets, a trip through a car wash (that causes Monty's asthma to kick up but is resolved quickly and realistically) and a new baby sister. The substitute teacher, who is initially pretty scary, softens into a sympathetic character. Although there are a few "awwww" moments, such as when Monty gives a gift to the impending sibling and when he meets her, the storytelling is refreshingly unsentimental. Adorable illustrations augment a thoroughly enjoyable story.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on July 13, 2010

Amazing Monty: More First-Grade Adventures
written by Johanna Hurwitz, illustrated by Anik McGrory

  • Publication Date: July 13, 2010
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763641545
  • ISBN-13: 9780763641542