Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Book review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
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Laughs, lessons enrich tale of what to do before 4th grade.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Judy learns a lot about contractions in this book. In fact, she mentions them in every sentence in which she finds one ("That is/that's like the best of all the triple stickers!"). Kids reading this book will get a solid grammar lesson. Geography, teamwork, learning to play an instrument are also explored.

Positive Messages

Reach for your goals, because you're worth it. Your family can help you when you need help. Creativity can help you solve problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The entire reason that Judy decides to start a bucket list is because she loves and admires her grandma so much. Grandma Lou is always up for adventures, such as kayaking and learning to dance the rhumba. Judy's parents set appropriate boundaries when Judy and her brother push them, but they are encouraged and supported when they need those things, too, 

Violence & Scariness

The word "poop" is used a lot. Especially because Judy cleans up a lot of it to earn money.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Judy Moody and the Bucket List is a funny addition to the popular series by Megan McDonald. In this 13th installment, Judy finds her grandmother's bucket list, which prompts her to create and follow a list of her own and to consider the meaning behind "kicking the bucket."  

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What's the story?

In JUDY MOODY AND THE BUCKET LIST, Judy's going through Grandma Lou's purse when she finds a mysterious list. When Grandma Lou explains to Judy that it's her bucket list, Judy decides to make a list of her own: things she has to do before she goes to fourth grade. With the help of her brother, Stink, her parents, and yes, her feisty Grandma Lou, Judy manages to cross off more than a few things on her list -- and learn some lessons at the same time.

Is it any good?

Humorous and educational, this 13th addition to the Judy Moody series is bound to satisfy fans of the quirky narrator. Judy's cheeky voice really shines through as she scratches off items such as "Learn to Do a Cartwheel" and "Invent Something." Some deeper lessons about mortality are given some attention but are handled gracefully and with care.

This is a good choice for early chapter book readers because of the variety of adventures that Judy has in her own neighborhood. She's a dreamer who doesn't need to wander too far from her house to find interesting things to do.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Judy's bucket list helps her explore new things that she wouldn't have done otherwise. What does she do to reach her goals?

  • What are the things that you want to do in your lifetime? What's on your bucket list? How can you research those things to make them real?

  • Judy's brother helps her learn contractions with the help of a song. Which songs do you use to help you remember things?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strong girls

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