Saturday, June 29, 2013

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking: A 14 Day Mystery by Erin Dionne


Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking
Dionne, Erin.  New York: Dial, 2013.  978-0-8037-3871-3

Quantitative Reading Level: Reading Level 4.8

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
I would rate this as Middle Low on the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures for Literary Text”.  It has a simple structure with very little figurative language.  It is mainly a simple mystery but there are a few underlying themes of family loyalty that bump this up from Low to Middle Low.  There is some need for cultural / literary knowledge about Boston and art in general.  Students who have this knowledge will be able to visualize the setting better.

Moxie has always known her grandfather “Grumps” was in “the business” but when an old associate comes looking around for some missing items she finds out just how involved he was.  Moxie has 14 days to locate the missing items…or else.  Unfortunately, Grumps has Alzheimer’s and can’t help her out.  Using her skills as a mathematician and with the help of her best friend, Ollie she investigates the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and the role her grandfather played.  Moxie’s investigation takes her to the State House, the Old North Church, and Fenway.  There is a lot to love about this mystery, especially for New England readers familiar with the setting.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website with information about the theft:

Content Area: Reading/ELA

Content area standard:
MCCL ELA.04.RLC.01.02  Understands the internal and external challenges and conflicts of character using appropriate qualitative and quantitative measures of text complexity

Understands how and why the character responds or changes as the events or challenges in the story move toward a resolution using appropriate qualitative and quantitative measures of text complexity

MCCL ELA.03.RLP.01.01  Understands plot development creates story meaning through a problem and its solution using appropriate qualitative and quantitative measures of text complexity

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

Curriculum Suggestions:
Students who are studying Boston in Social Studies classes will find connections to famous historical sites and events.  Students could map out the locations in the book and do extra research on the places mentioned like the State House, Old North Church, and Fenway Park. 
Students could find out more about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and any progress that has been made on discovering who did it.

Personal Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  It helped that I have been to Boston several times and know the locations in the book.  I thought the author did a good job of integrating Boston culture and history with a famous art museum mystery.  The only thing that was weird to me was that Moxie was entering high school.  She didn’t seem that old and I felt like her character could have been younger considering how she acted and the reading level of the book.  I don’t see this book as being popular with the high school crowd but rather with grade 4-6.

Subjects/Themes:  Coming of Age, Family

Character Names/descriptions:
Moxie: She is about to go into high school and wants this to be the best summer of her life.  Unfortunately she gets wrapped up in a 20 year old mystery and finds out her beloved “Grumps” was involved.
Ollie: He is an avid geocacher and Moxie’s best friend who gets involved with the mystery.

High Interest Annotation:
Moxie finds out that her grandfather was involved in Boston’s most famous art theft and must now recover the missing items…or else.


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