Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
4 out of 5 stars
Mustaches for Maddie is both humorous and heartwarming. There were so many things that I loved about this novel. It was an emotional roller coaster!
I loved that this novel had other story elements in it to balance the brain tumor aspect of it. It’s also a story about family dynamics, friendships, and social experiences. It’s also about facing our fears. Maddie learns who her friends are and who isn’t. She’s at that age when we all want to know what boy you like and if the boy likes you back. It’s about that awkwardness of who to sit with at lunch or play with at recess, because there’s always a Queen Bee who tries to dictate the outcomes.
There are many vivid characters other than Maddie — Maddie’s parents, four brothers, teacher, doctor, and several of her classmates. I grew to love them all, even Cassie, faults, and all. You immediately fall in love with Maddie — her humor, fighting spirit, and wonderful imagination. She could make up games and stories in a snap! When I entered Maddie’s world, I wanted to stay there and cheer her on. Part of me wished I were twelve again, so that I could play with her at recess or make her a card before her surgery.
The narration has the perfect voice of a twelve-year-old girl. Maddie’s personality is crystal-clear and that’s partly what made this so much fun to read. She’s full of life and has a heart of gold. She shows compassion towards a classmate that the rest of us think is undeserving of it. Maddie doesn’t see herself as courageous, but her actions say otherwise. She’s not afraid to look silly to make other people laugh.
When I finished reading Mustaches for Maddie, I started thinking that my local children’s hospitals need copies of this book so they can read it to the children, especially the ones facing brain surgery. Maybe the children need somebody like Maddie with her super ninja powers to help them fight their battles and take away some of their fears.
At first, I thought the ending was incomplete and I felt unsatisfied. Fortunately, there was an afterword and that gave me the answer that I needed.
If you like realistic children’s fiction and novels such as Wonder by R. J. Palacio, then you’ll love Mustaches for Maddie.