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Big on Plans by Katy Kelly
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Big on Plans

by Katy Kelly

Other authors: Adam Rex (Illustrator)

Series: Lucy Rose

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Last spring, I reviewed a delightful and hilarious book, Melonhead by Katy Kelly. When I discovered there was a previous series about one of Melonhead's friends, Lucy Rose, I just....well, I feel like there are an awful lot of spunky girl series. Piper Reed, Clementine, Allie Finkle, Junie B. Jones, Amber Brown, Pain and the Great One, Judy Moody...see what I mean? Other than Horrible Harry, where are the boy books? Not counting spin-offs of the girls' series, like Stink. Anyways. I just wasn't interested in yet another spunky girl series. But as I was nominating Melonhead for a Cybils, I thought I'd check out Lucy Rose. And, well, I fell in love. She's more than just a spunky girl, and she's definitely not (as some publicity blurbs say) the successor to Junie B. Jones. Frankly, Junie B. is an irritating brat. Lucy Rose is, clearly, Fancy Nancy in a few years. Things go wrong sometimes, but she means well. She has a definite sense of style, loves words, and is always eager for new experiences. Friendly and exuberant, she's that energetic little girl who's the life of the classroom and is always coming up with new ideas.

In her first story, Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing About Me, she and her mom have just moved to Washington D. C. She's feeling worried about her parents' separation, misses her dad, old school, and old friends, but she's ready as ever for new experiences. She makes a new best friend, Jonique McBee, and a new enemy, Adam Melon (yep, it's Melonhead's first appearance!). And, which makes the story perfect, there's a guinea pig! Yep, Lucy Rose's driving ambition is to take the class guinea pig, Jake, home for spring break. This is a funny and well-written story that sticks out head and shoulders above the other spunky girl middle grade fiction out there.

Lucy Rose's second story, Lucy Rose: Big on Plans, is a fun summer adventure. Lucy Rose is now good friends with both Jonique and Melonhead, but there's a new girl in town - Ashley - and she quickly becomes Lucy Rose's nemesis. But despite Ashley's nastiness, Lucy Rose sticks to her summer plans and has fun at summer camp. Unfortunately, she doesn't manage to get one of her plans to work; keeping her parents from getting a divorce.

Pause for long digression.
This is the only aspect of the Lucy Rose stories that strikes me as a bit, well, wishful thinking. Lucy Rose's parents are still friends. Good friends. He compliments her cooking, they get along well, they work together to parent Lucy Rose, and there's no indication they were fighting or having any issues before they separated. That just seems...weird. So one day Lucy Rose's parents just decided they didn't love each other any more and separated but they're still good friends and they promise Lucy Rose they will never be mean to each other. If I was Lucy Rose, that would totally freak me out. (personal interjection of me - I am majorly not in favor of divorce "because we just don't love each other anymore" especially when you have kids.) That always drives me nuts in divorce books for kids. Kids are not dumb. If you can love someone enough to marry them, make promises, live with them, and have kids with them, then just stop loving them, break your promises and get divorced, there's no logical reason you are going to keep loving your kids and not break your promise to keep loving them. Like I said, kids are not dumb. Of course, there may be some other major reason they have gotten divorced which they are not telling Lucy Rose. An affair, her dad is really gay, her mom wants to pursue a career elsewhere, they went in different directions in their life, blah de blah. But I'm also majorly in favor of being honest with kids, even when it's only to say "you're not old enough to hear that now". Anyhow, as I said, this aspect of the story really bothers me, although I am sure there are stories of amicable divorces out there. Sure.
This has been an adult digression and peeve which I do not think will affect kids' reading of the story at all.

On to the third story. Lucy Rose: Busy Like You Can't Believe. Lucy Rose's big project and excitement of 4th grade is the coming class play. She's absolutely sure she is going to be the star, Annie. Lucy Rose is also dealing with gossip and eavesdropping and learning some important - and sometimes hurtful lessons - about respect. Ashley is still a pain, and Lucy Rose has a big disappointment at the end that she has to deal with in a mature fashion. Being Lucy Rose, with the help of friends and family she manages to see the silver lining and come out on top!

The fourth - and apparently final - Lucy Rose story, Working Myself to Pieces and Bits - is all about friendship. Lucy Rose's best friend, Jonique, and her family are starting a new business and need some good friends to get it off the ground. Ashley is causing Lucy Rose some serious problems that affect her friendship with Melonhead. And Lucy Rose has to deal with some sad facts about her friendship with the folks at the nursing home.

Verdict: Lucy Rose is an unforgettable, lovable, and hilarious series that's a great addition to any middle grade collection. I'm looking forward to the new Melonhead book this spring and hoping for further stories - maybe about Jonique?

Lucy Rose, Here's the thing about me
ISBN: 978-0385732031; Published September 2004 by Delacorte; Borrowed from the library

Lucy Rose, Big on plans
ISBN: 038573204X; Published June 2005 by Delacorte; Borrowed from the library

Lucy Rose, Busy like you can't believe
ISBN: 978-0440421085; Published June 2007 by Yearling (paperback ed.); Borrowed from the library

Lucy Rose, Working myself to pieces and bits
ISBN: 978-0385734080; Published September 2007 by Delacorte; Borrowed from the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Dec 31, 2011 |
Kelly, K., & Rex, A. (2005). Lucy Rose: big on plans. New York: Delacorte Press.
Grades 2 through 4

Lucy Rose’s Grandma Glamma gave her a calendar so that she can keep all her commitments organized. Lucy Rose is big on plans, but she only has three so far: to record everything on a diary she got from her Grandpa Pop, to attend the opening of parks & Rec, and to spend her birthday with her dad. Together with Jonique and Melonhead, her best friends, Lucy Rose spends her summers making Gimp keychains, fighting squirrels, spending time with her mom and grandparents, and waiting to see her father. Even though there are many happy moments in Lucy Rose’s summer, a dark cloud looms over her head—after one year separated, her parents will finally get a divorce. When the divorce becomes a reality, Lucy Rose learns that family is forever even if her parents’ marriage is not.

The second book in the Lucy Rose series, Lucy Rose: big on plans is a charming and heartfelt story about family and friendship. Lucy Rose is the upbeat heroine whose spunky personality endears her to almost everyone—the exception being the new girl Ashley, but the reader has the impression that this is not for long. The diary format allows for a conversational style that gives readers direct access to Lucy Rose’s thoughts and feelings, making the main character very relatable. The topic of divorce is treated in a direct and positive way; young readers learn that divorce is hard, but there is hope that things will get better and life will return to normal. Rex’s black-and-white illustrations help emphasize important moments and add humor to the story. ( )
  fonsecaelib530A | Nov 25, 2011 |
Kelly, K., & Rex, A. (2005). Lucy rose: big on plans. New York: Delacorte Press.
This is the second book in a series about Lucy Rose. In this book, Lucy is big on plans, especially in the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. She is looking forward to her very important day with her father, but in the meantime she finds plenty to do staying with her grandma and grandpa who she refers to as Madam and Pop respectively. This book reflects the realities of life for younger children because Lucy is concerned with the possible divorce between her parents. She says in the book how it is causing her "anxiety." The book is written as if Lucy is writing her daily activities and thoughts down in her diary. To make the character more believable she writes in run-on sentences with some grammar errors. It is nice to see a book that is appropriate for younger readers. ( )
  edtech5 | Aug 6, 2010 |
950L,GRL R,GL 4.8,AR 4.9,3 copies
  Totarobookroom | Jul 25, 2009 |
950L,GRL R,GL 4.8,AR 4.9,3 copies
  Totarobookroom | Jul 25, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Katy Kellyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rex, AdamIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038573204X, Hardcover)

I’m Lucy Rose, and here’s the thing about this summer: I am big on fun and big on plans. I am desperate to make a lanyard keychain, and Jonique is feeling the same about potholders. Plus I have to get rid of 78 or more squirrels that are climbing all over Madam and Pop’s apricot tree and taking bites out of the puny fruits and flinging them to the ground which is maddening to Madam who wants to make them into jam. The apricots, not the squirrels. Plus I have to figure out what to do about the absolute pest who is named Ashley and is making Parks & Rec not so much fun. And even though I don’t want to think about it, I need to come up with a way to stop my parents’ separation from turning into a divorce.

Here is the thing about that: All these things are an extremely lot to get done in one summer.


Lucy Rose is back with big plans and big fun in an all-new book about—who else? Her!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Lucy Rose records in her diary her special summer plans--to make a keychain for her mother, to help decorate the living room, to prevent her parents' divorce, to vanquish some squirrels, and to enjoy a ninth birthday adventure with her father.

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