By: Laurie Friedman
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 14, 2011
Having problems was nothing new to Mallory McDonald, but having four all at once could possibly max out her problem solving skills. First of all there was Justin Trent, a.k.a. JT, whose initials, in her book, really stood for “Just Terrific.” There really shouldn’t be any problem with a terrific guy, but when he doesn’t know you are even on the planet that is another kind of JT (just terrible) and that is a problem. Secondly, her brother Max was mad about problem number one and said he thought it was “ridiculous” that she would like anyone in his grade. Thirdly, her dad was kind of upset about her real problem solving skills (as in math) and instead of thinking about "Mallory + JT" he claimed she just might think about another kind of addition. Lastly, her brother Max's dog, Champ, was stinking up her bed by lying around on it all the time. Ten-year-old Mallory Louise McDonald was going to solve them all, but first of all she had to have a plan.
The best thing to do was to get noticed by JT and that meant getting dressed up for "Operation: Get Noticed." Of course everyone in the family thought her outfit was a bit too bright and even her BFF, Mary Ann, asked "Where do you think you are going like that?" The get-up made her brother Max gag, but a best friend could be a bit more understanding. Mary Ann should have been once Mallory said, "I have a crush," because Mary Ann already had a boyfriend, C-Lo. Mallory was planning to get JT's attention during lunch time at Fern Falls Elementary when she walked past his table. Little did she know that not even her sunglasses would keep her from seeing all the disgusted looks on the faces of everyone when the BIG fiasco happened. Mmmmm, maybe Mallory wasn't going to be as good at solving problems as she thought she could be.
Things weren't exactly looking up when Mallory saw Arielle and Daniel gossiping about her, but she didn't like them anyway (not one bit) and Max said "I told you to stick to boys your own age." It was on to plan B, but it looked like she was going to have to do a lot more planning with all the things that started to go wrong, especially when Mr. Knight wanted to talk to her parents. Mallory claimed that "Whoever invented parent-teacher conferences should be sent to a foreign country.” The next thing on her list was to bake cookies and make an innocent little delivery. If Mallory thought things were bad, she'd soon find out that they couldn't get any worse ... she was LOST! Would she ever find her way home? Would she ever be able to figure out how to solve all her p-r-o-b-l-e-m-s?!?!?
I’ve read a few of Mallory’s books and must admit I do find her immensely irresistible. She does like to write and in this “guide” youngsters will learn all about how to deal with the difficult and “complicated topics” of boys, brothers, dads, and smelly old dogs like Champ. Her crush on JT brings her no end of trouble, but the lessons she learns will stick with her for a long time (until she gets into another mess that is). There are many other lessons that can be gleaned from her website, including tips on how to go green, some yummy recipes, and fun things like bookmarks and calendars that can be printed out.
Quill says: Mallory Louise McDonald is a ten-year-old dreamer you’re sure to fall in love with.