________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006


Maddie’s Big Test. (First Novels; 58).

Louise Leblanc. Illustrated by Marie-Louise-Gay. Translated by Sarah Cummins.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 2006.
60 pp., pbk. & cl, $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 0-88780-714-3 (pbk.), ISBN 0-88780-718-6 (cl.).
Subject Headings:
Maddie (Fictitious character: Leblanc)-Juvenile fiction.
Academic achievement-Juvenile fiction.
Cheating (Education)-Juvenile fiction.
Schools-Juvenile fiction.
Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
*** /4 


“Maddie, don’t you remember? Tomorrow is the big term test for math!”
It was like an electric shock! If I failed that exam, I would fail the whole year in math. Nicholas looked terrified, too. His face turned whiter than a sheet of paper.
“There’s no way you can review everything in one evening,” Patrick added helpfully. “I started last night and I’’m already about to go under.” 

Clementine has no mercy.
“I planned on four days of study and I made summaries of everything. All I have to do is review them this evening.” 

Nicholas and I stared at her like birds of prey.  


Maddie can’t be bothered to do her math assignment, and she doesn’t study for her math test. Instead, she copies the assignment, and cheats on the test.  

     Maddie has dreams of being a singer, and she’s easily distracted by her favourite television show, Road to Stardom. Although her grades are low, she doesn’t think future singers have to study. Her dad believes Maddie doesn’t work hard enough in school, and her brother Julian blames Maddie’s low marks on her poor study habits. Being surrounded by a genius brother and a back-to-school mom with very good study habits doesn’t sway Maddie one bit. She lies to her classmates to obtain the assignment answers and the review notes. With the review notes in her pen, she decides to cheat on her math test with her friend Nicholas. She comes to realize cheating is a lot of hard work, and it makes her feel sick, but she continues on with her plan. After her plan backfires, she gets the opportunity to experiences a new study program. This new program has a strict teacher, but Maddie learns to appreciate her and the new study habits. The benefits that come Maddie’s way far outweigh the unearned free time and high marks cheating allowed her.

     Maddie has a close relationship with her grandma who becomes very involved in Maddie’s life. Besides helping Maddie with school, she is also the one to reveal to Maddie a surprising truth. The saying, “like mother like daughter,” certainly pertains to this story.

     The illustrator has drawn the characters with oversized bodies and heads but with tiny eyes and little tongues. Maddie’s hair has a tendency to lie down or stand up according to her feelings. Illustrator of Lizzy’s Lion, and When Vegetables Go Bad!, Marie-Louise Gay has drawn playful, untroubled black and white illustrations that are very easy for children to like.
     Before she became an award winning author, Louise Leblanc was a teacher, model, actress, and dancer. The Maddie books have been translated into French, Spanish, and Danish. Maddie’s story is a good deterrent to cheating behaviour. Children will understand cheating hinders; it doesn’t help.  


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB. 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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