Meet Marty McGuire, star of a funny, accessible chapter-book series about an irrepressible third grader, from author Kate Messner.


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MARTY McGUIRE, by Kate Messner


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Marty would rather spend recess catching frogs in the pond than playing dress-up with the other girls in third grade. So when her teacher casts Marty as the princess in the class play, Marty’s absolutely, positively sure that there’s been a huge mistake—but after a special lesson in the art of improvisation, Marty comes up with her own plan to improve the play. Maybe a princess in muddy sneakers can live happily ever after, after all!


• New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

• Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Nominee

• Global Read Aloud Selection for Primary Grades

• Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Nominee

• Oregon Battle of the Books Selection

• Alaska Library Association Battle of the Books Selection

• Oklahoma Sequoyah Award Nominee (3-5)

• Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee (K-3)



Kirkus Reviews:


“Messner gets all the details of third grade right: the social chasm between the girls who want to be like the older kids and the ones who are still little girls, the Mad Minutes for memorizing arithmetic facts, the silly classroom-control devices teachers use and the energy students of this age put into projects like class plays. Floca’s black-and-white sketches are filled with movement and emotion and are frequent enough to help new chapter-book readers keep up with this longer text. Believable and endearing characters in a realistic elementary-school setting will be just the thing for fans of Clementine and Ramona.” Full review here.


A Fuse #8 Production:


“Finding great early chapter books can be an enormous chore. Now Marty makes my job as a children’s librarian that much easier…. The fact that Messner manages to create three-dimensional characters with as few words as she does is remarkable. She also is awfully good at voice. From page one you are drawn to Marty…. Full credit to illustrator Brian Floca for his work on this book as well.... In this particular book Floca’s images provide a perfect complement to the action. Marty has to be appropriately female if not feminine. You have to look at her and know that she’s a girl, while at the same time avoiding the standard long eyelashes some artists give their female characters when they want to advertise their sex. Floca knows how to do that, and knows too how to pick out just the right scenes for illustration. The kid intimidated by extra long novels and who needs some images to help them through will be grateful for Mr. Floca’s work time and again…. There’s nothing girly about this fun and funny story that’s easy to talk up. Sell the fact that Marty has to play a princess to the princess lovers and her adoration of science, nature, and slimy critters to the rest of the kids. You’ll end up with a whole slew of children ready and willing to become Marty fans.” Elizabeth Bird. Full review here.





Purchase hardcover: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Purchase paperback: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Spanish edition: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


• NH Cochecho Readers’ Award Nominees


Marty McGuire's third-grade class has a special assignment: Save the Earth! Even more exciting, the best project wins a special award. Marty's pretty sure her classmates' ideas won't stand a chance against her plan to turn the garbage from the school cafeteria into fertilizer. All she needs is a little help from her teammate and best friend, Annie—and the worms in her grandma's garden.


But it turns out that worms are awfully slow eaters. And when the critters escape, the whole class starts grumbling. Can Marty save the Earth without losing her friends?


The Washington Post:


“It’s hard to think of cafeteria composting as the topic for a good chapter book, but Messner and Floca pull it off. It’s the characters who make this book entertaining, whether it’s Marty’s wildlife rehabilitator mom or her inventive Grandma Barb, who thinks both worm slime and duct tape have essential uses.”


Kirkus Reviews (starred review):


“Third-grader Marty and her classmates are given a challenge by a visiting environmentalist: to develop Earth-friendly projects that she will then judge….. Floca’s cheery black-and-white illustrations match the upbeat theme of the tale, and with at least one per brief chapter, they break up the text pages nicely. Marty’s first-person commentary, sometimes just a tiny bit sarcastic, splendidly conveys the eroding innocence of middle-graders. A quick, amusing read with an easily digestible environmental message; it is a perfect match for its young intended audience.” Full review here.


School Library Journal:


“The spirited youngster introduced in Marty McGuire returns…. Packed with eco-friendly ideas, this realistic, plot-driven early chapter book is a welcome addition to Earth Day or environmental units. The illustrations reflect the characters well, and the black-and-white drawings help to establish the mood. Readers of Annie Barrow’s “Ivy and Bean” stories (Chronicle) or Megan McDonald’s “Judy Moody” series (Candlewick) will enjoy Marty McGuire’s adventures.”





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Marty McGuire really has her hands full this time — with a lazy boa, a hyper hamster, and a potty-mouthed parrot! Is her pet sitting business about to go OUT of business?


After visiting a sanctuary for retired lab chimpanzees, Marty wants to follow in the footsteps of her idol Jane Goodall and help with their care. But “adopting a chimp” is expensive, so Marty and her third-grade pals hatch a plan to raise money by holding a talent show at school and opening a pet-sitting business in Marty's basement. It turns out that each pet has a personality of its own, and wrangling them is much harder than Marty expected. How will Marty keep her latest great idea from going to the dogs?




“In this third chapter book in the well-regarded Marty McGuire series, Marty persuades her teacher to turn the class talent show into a benefit for the nearby Great Ape Sanctuary. Wanting to raise more money but reluctant to ask her parents for help, Marty starts a clandestine pet-sitting service in her basement. Disaster strikes when both Bitsy the six-foot python and Houdini the gerbil escape. Messner makes the most of Marty’s story with a nicely differentiated cast of empathetic characters and plenty of dramatic range. The line-and-gray-wash illustrations by Caldecott Medal–winning artist Floca capture moments of anxiety, despair, and happiness with equal grace.” —Carolyn Phelan.