Amazing Monty

106p. 978-0-76364-154-2.
K-Gr 2—Monty is having an exciting year. There are new class pets, a not-so-nice substitute teacher, a new sibling on the way, loose teeth, and a trip with neighborhood friends that teaches him a valuable lesson about surprises. Continuing her series of stories about the first grader, Hurwitz writes in a tender, positive manner, making this title a good choice for an extended snuggled-up sharing, a chapter at a time. However, the reading level may be quite high for independent reading; certainly, there are first graders like Monty who could handle it, but many youngsters would struggle with the vocabulary. The soft gray illustrations match the gentleness of Hurwitz's writing and provide a good visual accompaniment to the story. Though many things happen throughout, the book feels aimless at times. An additional purchase, especially for libraries with high-level younger readers or with established fans of Monty.—Nicole Waskie-Laura, Chenango Forks Elementary, Binghamton, NY
Monty Morris's third book focuses on surprises. Some surprises are terrific, like getting two parakeets for class pets; others, such as having an asthma attack in the carwash, are not good. But the most amazing surprise of all is the arrival of his baby sister. Monty's quiet but amusing adventures, shown in unfussy black-and-white watercolor illustrations, ring true to first-grade life.
Children will enjoy reading about Monty or hearing the book read aloud. This third title in the series also stands on its own. Monty is thoughtful and sensitive. He will appeal to like-minded kids who may not always identify with brash characters. Readers will relate to the events in Monty’s life, such as worrying that a substitute teacher will be mean or trying to keep a surprise party a secret. Monty displays admirable emotional maturity in handling the disappointment of not being able to own the birds. Readers may recall Monty’s desire for a pet from the first book in the series, Mostly Monty. Anik McGrory’s expressive illustrations provide well-placed breaks from the text.

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