Books & Literature

Book Review: Countdown to Trouble (Judy Moody and Friends), by Megan McDonald and Erwin Madrid

Three different adventures with Judy Moody and all her friends together in one book, especially written for 6-9 year olds.

Perfect for the young, newly-independent reader.

Judy Moody books have been around for a long time. When young readers have learned basic phonics and most of the common sight words, these books are a good place to start on the way to the independent reading of novels. Using simple language, but with a story the children can often relate to, these books are perfect for early readers to gain a sense of accomplishment. They have a simple storyline and the narrative is about children the same age as the reader, hence the target audience of children aged 6-9 years.

Countdown to Trouble has three Judy Moody and Friends books in one. Judy is a third grader with a younger brother called Stink and friends including Jessica, Rocky, Frank and Amy. Each book has three chapters that hold a story that could stand on its own. The broad themes in these books are competitions, space and pets.

In the first one, Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle, Frank just wants to win a competition like all his friends but he needs to find something he can excel at. The second story, Stinky Moody in Master of Disaster, revolves around Judy and Stink and comets, asteroids and stargazing. The final story, Triple Pet Trouble, deals with the variety of exploits the pets of Judy and her friends get up to. Each story finishes with an amusing tag line.

Even though Megan McDonald is an American children’s author and the children often do “American” type things, like lemonade stands, science fairs etc. the stories are not too complicated.

Erwin McDonald has illustrated many of the Judy Moody books and his illustrations are bright and colourful with lots of detail. This is useful for early readers when they may not understand the whole text due to trickier words they may not as yet have been exposed to.

Stink also has his own line of books in a spin-off series. In all, there are at least 16 Judy Moody books, 4 Judy and Stink books and 10 Stink books so if your child loves Judy and Stink, there are lots of books to keep them reading for a long time.

If your child is an avid collector of Judy Moody, they will want to add this title to their collection, or even if they are a new reader just starting out, this is a good place to start.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: April 2019
RRP: $14.99

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