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Review: Marty McGuire by Kate Messner

marty 211x300 Review: Marty McGuire by Kate Messner

Marty McGuire
By Kate Messner
Illustrated by Brian Floca

Scholastic Press

ISBN: 9780545142441
Grades 2-4
In Stores

*Best New Book*

Find it at:
Schuler Books | WorldCat

Listen to the first chapter of Marty McGuire:
[audio:|titles=Marty McGuire Chapter 1]

It isn’t easy to get third grade right. With Marty McGuire, Kate Messner brings this age – all too often a literary netherworld – to life with a deft touch. Funny, relatable, and authentic – you can’t ask for much more.

Third-grader Marty McGuire would rather catch frogs than play princess. But alas, her class is putting on a performance of The Princess and the Frog, and the teacher picks tomboy Marty for the lead role. After some serious convincing, our heroine warms up to the idea and even adds an unexpectedly authentic element to the performance.

The pacing and humor make Marty a standout for classroom read-aloud time.

Subtly detailed, Brian Floca’s black and white spot illustrations are notably strong. Supporting the story without getting in the way, they always seem to pop up at just the right spot to keep things moving along.

Marty Inside Review: Marty McGuire by Kate Messner

An excellent first book in a planned series (book #2 in the house), Marty McGuire is likely to win over the beginning chapter book crowd. Make sure you add this to your collection.

Review copy from library

Also reviewed by A Fuse #8 Production, The Cath in the Hat, Kid Lit Frenzy, The Book Maven’s Haven, Kiss the Book.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. marjorie says:

    My almost-seven-year old ADORED Marty McGuire, and she is a seriously tough room. She tends to prefer reading beloved books over and over rather than trying something new, but when I put this into her hands the opening sentence just GRABBED her (hey, who could resist “That nice Mrs Kramer lied to me about third grade”?) and would NOT let go. She was HOOKED. ROCK ON, Kate Messner. (Only problem is I keep calling the book “Marty McFly.” It’s my density.)

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