A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail from a publicist for Candlewick Press inviting me and my daughter to the local premiere of Judy Moody and the Not-So-Bummer Summer.
Now you have to know that, for the most part, if I’m invited to events like this they are either a) during a workday or b) in New York City. They are not on Saturday, less than 30 minutes from my house. And since I’m always up for a day of mom-daughter fun with my 6 year old, I readily agreed.
Then realized I had to figure out who the heck was Judy Moody.
Sophie and I jumped right into book number 1, Judy Moody is in a Mood, through which we discovered she is in the third grade, has a little brother named Stink, doesn’t mind holding peeing toads, has a great imagination, sometimes goes to school in her pajamas, never brushes her hair, is particularly creative with markers and glitter glue, knows how to combine feathers with high tops, and uses words like “Rare” and “Roar” with great effect.
In short, she’s a girl this mom can get behind.
By the time the premiere rolled around, we were ready with our Judy costume (in retrospect I shouldn’t have been surprised by how many girls showed up like Judy Moody Gets Famous, and how few were wearing “I ate a shark” shirts), as well as information about the event in Dedham, where it was “Judy Moody Day” in honor of illustrator Peter Reynolds.
For those who may be wondering – the movie was great. Sophie and I really enjoyed watching the character we had just gotten to know on the big screen, and appreciated how many details from the book made their way into the movie.
Sophie was particularly thrilled by the many appearances of the “I ate a shark” shirt like the one she was wearing, and the story kept me entertained. I had brought Sophie so we could have a girls only day, but think my son would have enjoyed it – especially scenes with Stink hunting Big Foot.
I also appreciated that the movie was inspired by the books, but wasn’t taken directly from any of the stories written by Megan McDonald, giving us lots of stories to look forward to.
During our visit we made another discovery – The Blue Bunny, an independent bookstore in downtown Dedham co-owned by Peter Reynolds and his twin brother. The shop hosted a post-movie event where Peter was available for photos and autographs, giving me and Sophie an opportunity to explore this little treasure.
Inside we found a store filled from top to bottom with books, toys, original artwork and crafts designed to get the creative juices flowing. Sophie’s favorite purchase of the day were a pair of matching mood rings for each of us (to quote Judy “Same! Same!”) and a blank book for “authoring and illustrating my own story.” We also picked up a copy of Hutch, their Literary & Art Magazine for kids.
Surrounded as I am with easy access to chain stores like Barnes & Noble, Toys ‘R Us, Target and others, it’s easy to forget how wonderful a neighborhood bookstore can be. Sitting on the sidewalk in front of The Blue Bunny, I listened in as friends from the area talked about their favorite new reads and reveled in Peter’s success. I watched as my daughter, inspired by the event, worked on writing her version of Judy Moody, and delighted in the ever-changing colors of her mood ring. (Predictably, less than one week later, she has lost both rings to the playground).
So all in all it was a good day. We discovered a great new movie based on a wonderful new (to us) series of books. And we found a new place to go when we’re looking for something to read, or to spark our imaginations.
Have you discovered Judy Moody, or your own Blue Bunny?