Monday, March 12, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly McGhee

Matylda, Bright and Tender by Holly McGhee. 210 p. Candlewick Press, March, 2017. 9780763689513. (Review from purchased finished copy.)

This impressive debut is perfect for fans of sad books like The Bridge to Terabithia. Sussie, short for Susquehanna, is our narrator and the Matylda of the title is the name of the leopard gecko pet she shares with her best-friend-since-kindergarten, Guy. Matyda resides in a tank in Sussie's room, but it's Guy she's most fond of. Matylda trusts him enough to crawl up his arm and hang out on his shoulder. Sussie admits to being a little jealous of that; but also of not feeling the fondness for their pet that Guy has. When the unthinkable happens, Sussie is devastated. She refuses to wear anything but the outfit she was wearing on that day and hopes that by taking the very best care of Matyda, she will keep her friend close to her. She's not only processing her grief but her guilt as well. As she does so, an new Sussie emerges, the stealing girl. Her parents are at a complete loss about how to comfort her. 

This is not only a book to give to your readers who like to cry but it's one to recommend as a read aloud as well.

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