Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, March 20, 2017

Matylda, Bright & Tender by Holly M. McGhee

How I Heard About It:  Where else?  Twitter of course.  I really need to start writing down the "source" so that I can give them credit here.  Most of the titles I get via Twitter and my "nerdy" friends are top-notch and novels that I end up absolutely loving.  That was the case with this new novel.  

What It Is About:  Before Matylda, the gecko, came along; there was just Sussy and Guy.  These two fourth graders are the best of friends and have been for quite some time.  They share all:  hopes, dreams, knowledge, and everything in between.  One day these two best friends decide to bring in another aspect to their friendship.  Sussy and Gus want a pet and they want to share this pet.  After some discussion, they decide on a gecko.  Upon returning from local pet store, they land on the same Matylda.  The gecko and Guy seem to bond immediately while Sussy has a harder time warming up to this new creature.  Guy has so much energy, passion, and love for the gecko, that Sussy wants to share in that also.  It appears Matylda is more drawn to Guy than Sussy which frustrates Sussy.  Sussy is determined to be just as "good" as Guy.  During one afternoon outing, a horrific event leaves Sussy stunned, shocked, and not quite sure how to handle it.  She retreats to her room where Matylda lives and does everything in her power to "make" friends with her "pet".  This isn't as easy as she would like and takes a road that leads her to some poor decisions that both herself and Guy are disappointed in.  Can this "magical" gecko bring Matylda and Guy together as they once were.  

What I Thought Of It:  One siting is all it took for me to "devour" this story.  What a complete joy this novel was.  I found the plot to be fresh, unique, and "tender".  The characters of Sussy and Guy were over-the-top endearing and wove their way into my heart.  Being a fourth grade teacher, I would love to have had these two characters in my own classroom.  They were strong, independent, and so loyal to each other.  I enjoyed that they stood on their own two feet and didn't care that what other people thought.  They followed their own dreams, passions, and interests.  I'm a "life-lesson" kind of guy, and this story was full of them.  So many teachable moments.  I can't wait to share this book with my own fourth grade class.  

Who Should Read It:  This is a little "gem" of a book.  It would make for a strong and excellent read aloud in grades three, four, and five.  Readers in grades four, five, and six could easily handle the text, content, and themes of the story.  Of course all teachers, librarians, and educators need to experience this wonderfully warm and touching story of Sussy, Guy, and of course Matylda.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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