Stubborn. Defiant. A mind of her own. Meet Maggie Schultz. A third grade student that is anything but eager to write in cursive. This Talented and Gifted student can’t understand why she should write in cursive when she can type on the computer. She refuses to even try. Her refusal gets a little out of control and she isn’t sure how she can stop. When her mother asked her how long it was going to take her to learn cursive Maggie responds with, “Maybe forever.” Her teacher works with other staff members to create an ingenious idea that motivates Maggie to learn cursive.
Cleary’s idea to solve the problem works in this book. It is a clever idea that doesn’t cause embarrassment or harm to Maggie or anger and frustration for Mrs. Leeper, the third grade teacher. However, in the real world I can’t imagine a child’s refusal to do work being solved in this manner at all.
This is a simple story with a simple plot. There wasn’t a lot to this book. I did like some of the vocabulary that was used such as nuisance, indignant, and dawdle. Children will enjoy this book because of the character, Maggie. Even though kids may not think of acting like she does they can relate to her not wanting to write in cursive. Many children always question WHY they must do something. They may not see the value in writing in cursive, just like Maggie. In the end, I think they too will see the importance of learning cursive. Even if it is to read what your teacher and principal are saying about you.
After reading Dear Mr. Henshaw I was quite surprised by the difference between these two books. Beverly Cleary has written many books and I was wondering where the majority of her books fell on the continuum of quality.