Books: Middle GradeBack to Book List
Maudie in the Middle
Naylor has developed her mother’s written memory of life in Iowa in the early 20th Century into a delightful story of a girl growing up at the turn of the century. Maudie is a middle child who wants desperately to be noticed and also to be good. She has particular trouble with the last wish, as readers will see during the events of the year described: playing blind man’s bluff on the roof, taking a piece of pie from Mrs. Franklin’s kitchen, popping a bag in the new car and making her father think he has a blowout.
There are some family highs and lows, such as the box social, farm chores, and Aunt Sylvie’s romance. In one scene, Maudie hopes that the foot washing at church will turn her into a “good” person and is heartbroken when she sleeps through it. An uncle’s death and her parent’s trip west lead to Maudie’s maturing as she must care for her baby sister.
All of the characters are marvelously believable. Each chapter covers a separate episode in Maudie’s life, making the book good for reading aloud.