About the Book
Title: Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show (Madison and GA – My Guardian Angel)
Author: Melissa Perry Moraja
Publication Date: November 15, 2013
Publisher: Independent – Melissa Productions Inc.
Number of pages: 156
Recommended age: 6-12
Madison Wunderkind is a sweet, honest girl, who always seems to find herself in trouble with the principal. But this time she’s not alone. It all started three days earlier, when Sophia, the most popular fifth-grade girl at Gator Elementary, asked Madison to hang out and plan this year’s talent show. Instantly, Madison had become Little Miss Popular. But what Madison soon discovered was that being Little Miss Popular wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Her best friends were ignoring her. Her brothers were angry at her. And her guardian angel, GA, was irritated by her snobbish attitude. And if things couldn’t get more messed up for Madison, everything that could go wrong at the talent show did, sparking Principal Dimples to find out why! Find out what happens at Gator Elementary’s Talent Show. Will GA be able to help Madison? Or will Madison become Little Miss Lonely? Also, try and find one of GA’s feathers in each picture!
* Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show has just been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award and has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. *
My Thoughts: If you’ll recall, I recently reviewed the first book in the Madison and GA (My Guardian Angel) series entitled The Tale of the Slimy Spitball by Melissa Perry Moraja and I highly recommended the book as an early chapter book for girls in particular. In this second installment, Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show, 10 year old Madison Wunderkind and her invisible guardian angel, GA (literally pronounced “gah”) are back and once again, GA has the opportunity to earn more feathers as she has to guide Madison through middle school drama.
This time around, Madison is the Stage Manager for the school’s talent show and she quickly becomes best friends with the most popular girl in the school, Sophia. Her friends and family soon grow tired of the changes they see in Madison who ignores her friends on the bus, ditches her brothers and their band, begins to prioritize painting nails, curling hair, and going shopping with new friend Sophia over spending time with her long-time friends. Even GA is concerned over the changes in Madison who begins to value popularity over everything else.
As we know, being popular is important to many children in school. This begins to be particularly important in middle school. The underlying message in the Tale of the Messed up Talent Show is that being popular is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is an entire chapter devoted to deconstructing the myth of the benefits of being popular. In fact, the chapter is entitled Top Ten Myths About Being Popular. For example, Myth 1 is “Popular kids had a lot of friends. Madison astutely observes the following:
I also noticed that sometimes the popular kids let non-popular kids hang out with them because they needed something.
She goes on to give an example of how she observed this in Sophia. I really appreciated how Madison was very torn throughout the book as Sophia (the popular girl) took notice of her and befriended her; but as she also observed how Sophia treated others very badly. This clearly created dissonance in Madison. I can see this happening in real life as a young girl wants to be friends with the popular girl who turns out to say and do hurtful things to others. I thought that the “myths” about being popular were a great addition to the book and definitely gives food for thought to young girls.
A little note about the myths… One of the myths was “Popular kids were confident”. In the myth-busting paragraph, there is a discussion about being extroverted and essentially confidence was equated with extraversion (which is further described as outgoing and friendly). I don’t equate confidence with extraversion per say and I don’t think that introverts are unfriendly. I don’t think that the author meant for these to be dichotomous, but I wonder how a naturally introverted child would interpret that paragraph. Regardless, I think that confidence and extraversion are two separate personality traits that may or may not be correlated.
There are many other teaching points in the story. For example, GA does a great job of providing guidance to Madison as she also is concerned about the changes she observes in Madison and helps her to see that Sophia is a bully. She also teaches her about how to be a good leader and teaches her the importance of forgiveness. One other great feature of the book is that Madison, as narrator of the story, introduces and defines some more advanced vocabulary words such as “protagonists”, “reprimand”, “cahoots”, among many others. I also really appreciated the punishment doled out by the principal to Madison at the end of the book:
“…tonight at home, I would like you to write a letter to me, stating what you would have done differently.”
This falls closely in line with my own parenting philosophy. It is one thing to recognize and acknowledge that you made a mistake and to apologize for it; but, I firmly believe that thinking through what you would do differently and how you would make different choices is really how someone learns something.
I said it in the first book, and I’ll say it again: I love the simple illustrations. They tell just the right amount of the story yet still leave room for children to use their own imagination when picturing Madison, GA and the events that transpired. I think the pictures fit just nicely with the text.
My Bottom Line: Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show (Madison and GA: My Guardian Angel) features a tween girl who experiences just what you would expect in middle school. The story features an important lesson about how being popular is not quite what you would expect, and that it is very important to nurture the relationships you have with your friends and family. This early chapter book is a fun and easy read and I highly recommend it to independent readers aged 7 years and older.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes
You can purchase the first book of the series (e-copy), Tale of the Slimy Spitball for only 99 cents until Christmas, December 25, 2013 from Amazon. Just click on the cover below!
About the Author: Melissa Perry Moraja
Melissa Perry Moraja, Founder of Melissa Productions, Inc., is an entrepreneurial mom, a multifaceted business woman, a creative producer, and an author/illustrator of numerous modern-fantasy children’s books and self-help books. Melissa also has published articles, appeared on television, been interviewed on radio, has spoken in front of hundreds of people, and held workshops at local schools, discussing creative learning, publishing and parenting. Her desire to make a difference in her four young children’s lives inspired her to leave her six-salary career at IBM in 2007 to become a full-time mom and children’s author. Melissa spends her personal time coaching soccer and softball, painting, and coming up with fun art projects for her kids. She also blogs for Working Mother blog, has guest blogged for Charlotte Observer Mom’s Charlotte, and has her own personal blog at Not Your Ordinary Psychic Mom. Melissa is also committed to building awareness and support for Type 1 Diabetes. Her twin daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes November 4, 2011. To learn more about Madison’s type 1 diabetes disease please read Madison’s Story.
* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *
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Contest runs: November 25 to December 24, 11:59 pm, 2013
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