Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Thanks! Moxy Maxwell Doesn't Love Writing Thank You Notes by Peggy Gifford

Mind you, Moxy Maxwell really is grateful for her Christmas presents, but in her latest adventure, she is up against a time deadline which promises "consequences" if she does not finish her twelve thank-you notes by the day after Christmas.

If Moxy's mom sounds a bit authoritarian, there's a serious bit of backstory to this pronouncement. In her first highly lauded book, Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little, (see my review here) Moxy procrastinates on her summer reading assignment until bedtime of the night before the first day of school. Oh, Stuart Little has been her constant companion all summer, splashed at the pool as Moxy rehearses synchronized swimming, sticky with lemonade from lazy sessions in the porch hammock while Moxy reads something else, and a bit dirty from traveling around in the car's back seat everywhere Moxy goes, but Moxy just can't seem to find some downtime to open the book.

In her latest story, Moxy runs into the same procrastination problem, despite the fact that her mom has literally threatened to ground her, forbidding her to board the flight with her twin Mark for her long-awaited visit to Hollywood with the movie mogul dad who hasn't had time for a Christmas visit in three years. Moxy plans to make that trip, but handwriting twelve notes seems more than she can cope with--until she comes up with a technological solution.

It seems that her stepdad Ajax has just gotten a fancy copy machine for Christmas, so high-tech that he has decreed that no one is to use it without his help. But since Ajax isn't home, Moxy takes matters into her own hands. Carefully, she prints out a generic thank-you letter:

Dear .....,
Thank you for............ It is very ......... and it will come in handy. I'll use it for various things like ......... and .......... In case you want to thank me for this thank you note, please wait until I get back from visiting my dad in Hollywood. I will be there for 6 1/2 days.

Have a breath-taking New Year!
Moxy Anne Maxwell

Wanting to spread the guilt in case anything unfortunate occurs, Moxy cons her brother Mark and friend Sam into actually operating the copier. Unfortunately, unfortunate events seem to follow Moxy wherever she goes. Mark has a bit of trouble programming the number of copies to be printed, so that 12 copies become 121,212. Moxy is not worried, however, when the copier keeps going beyond the first 12: she figures she has plenty of thank-you notes in her future, thanks to her mom, so a few extras can't hurt.

Moxy is worried about how she's going to get the gilt Thank You on the other side of her copies, and her solution involves the other big NO-N0 for her, gold spray paint. Fortunately, (or unfortunately as the case ensues) her grandma, Nonnie, has plenty of spray paint in her craft basket.

But when her mother returns from her errands, there are hundreds of generic thank yous spilling all over Ajax's office and a large gilt HANK YOU on the living room wall (the T is unfortunately on the front of Sam's red Christmas sweater). The promised consequences follow, and Moxy is devastated--that is, until Mark relates the telephone conversation he overheard between their mom and the movie mogul dad. It seems her dad called to cancel their visit because of a "very BIG deal" which requires his attention. Moxy suddenly realizes that her mom has taken the full rap for canceling her trip to protect her from the knowledge that her dad doesn't really care about her.

So Moxy picks up her pen and writes the most important thank-you note of all:

Dear Mother,
Thank you for loving me so much.
Have a breath-taking New Year!
Moxy Anne Maxwell (your daughter)

P.S.: In case you want to thank me for this thank you note, I'll be around all week.

With summer vacation trips in full swing, the audiobook of The Moxy Maxwell Collection: Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little, Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank You Notes is a great way to spend a few hours of travel time. Moxy's voice is hilarious but genuine, her family is funny but loving, and her slapstick misadventures are sure to keep restless kids giggling through the miles.

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