Matylda, Bright and Tender
Matylda, Bright and Tender
To purchase this item, you must first login or register for a new account.

Annotation: Sussy and Guy are best friends, fourth-graders who share their silliest thoughts and deepest hopes. One afternoon, the two of them decide they must have something of their very own to love, so they visit the pet store and bring home a spotted lizard, naming it Matylda.
Catalog Number: #138216
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 210 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-8951-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-8951-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017931503
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A fascination with herpetology might be a prerequisite for enjoying this middle-grade novel told from the viewpoint of spirited 10-year-old Susquehanna Indiana Reed, who loses her closest friend. A visit to the pet store ends with Sussy and Guy adopting a leopard gecko, whom the pair name Matylda ("With a y so it's all her own," insists Guy), and they quickly cook up a fanciful origin story for their pet. Readers will learn a whole lot about the care and feeding of geckos, until a bike accident leads to Guy's death, and Sussy is left alone with the pet they were supposed to share. We never get a real sense of Guy, loyal paragon that he appears, and Sussy's intense ut, by nature, one-sided tempts to bond with the reptile verge on magical realism. At times, her coping strategies are disturbingly dark, but this tackles grief for the middle-grade set in much the same way as Ali Benjamin's The Thing about Jellyfish (2015). As a simple preadolescent love story, it's refreshing.
Horn Book
Nine-year-old best friends Sussy and Guy have been inseparable since kindergarten. Then tragedy strikes: Guy is killed in an accident. Sussy takes comfort caring for Matylda, the pet leopard gecko the friends shared. She slowly begins to make new friends, but bad decisions (e.g., stealing from the pet store) derail her healing process. A lyrical text tells the emotional story of a grief-stricken girl.
Kirkus Reviews
After losing her best friend, a little girl tries to hold on to him by transferring her affection to the pet lizard they shared in picture-book author Hallie Durand's first novel.Ten-year-old, white Sussy (short for Susquehanna) has been best friends with Guy since kindergarten and loves him "more than anything." When Guy suggests they need a pet, they purchase a leopard gecko they name Matylda, imagining the little lizard as a warrior drawn to them by love. Guy has a special connection with Matylda, who clearly responds to him more than Sussy. Everything changes after Guy is killed in a biking accident trying to save Sussy from an attacking dog. Alone, bereft, and filled with guilt, Sussy vows to find a way to love Matylda just as Guy did, since the lizard is all she has left of him. Isolated in her bedroom all summer, wearing the same clothes she wore the day Guy died, Sussy constantly relives the accident and tries to justify stealing special food and toys to earn Matylda's affection. In her own words, Sussy poignantly describes her emotional journey from grief and despair to healing and hope as she learns how to love Matylda in her own way and move on without Guy. McGhee does not flinch from Sussy's overwhelming grief, spinning out long sentences that keep taking her back to the awful truth. A bright and tender novel of love, loss, and survival. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
Fourth-graders Sussy and Guy are inseparable, sharing everything-including a leopard gecko they name Matylda. Though Matylda seems to prefer Guy, who is unfazed by the fact that she eats live food (and her own old skin), Sussy loves her, too. When Guy dies protecting Sussy, she channels her pain into caring for Matylda, believing the lizard keenly feels Guy-s loss. Driven by her desire to keep Matylda happy and safe, Sussy begins lying and stealing, becoming increasingly reckless as she fails to confront her grief. At its core, this is a sincere, tender story of friendship: Sussy recounts memories of adventures and conversations with Guy, drawing parallels between the friend she desperately misses and the steadfast Matylda. Even Sussy-s thefts serve as a kind of distorted mirror to qualities she admires in Guy and Matylda. Sussy-s deep sorrow hovers at the edges of each page, but McGhee (the author of Dessert First and other books, writing as Hallie Durand) handles the story-s heavy emotions with a light touch, using Sussy-s changing relationship with Matylda and a classmate to provide balance. Ages 8-12. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)

Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 CST 2017)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (Tue Aug 01 00:00:00 CDT 2017)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 35,527
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 5.0 / quiz: 190733 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.5 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q75169
Lexile: 620L

In a courageous debut novel, Holly M. McGhee explores the loss that shakes one girl’s world — and the unexpected consequences of the things we do for love.

Sussy and Guy are best friends, fourth-graders who share their silliest thoughts and deepest hopes. One afternoon, the two of them decide they must have something of their very own to love. After a trip to the pet store, they bring home a spotted lizard, the one with the ancient face and starfish toes, and they name her Matylda (with a y so it’s all her own). With Guy leading the way, they feed her and give her an origin story fit for a warrior lizard. A few weeks later, on a simple bike ride, there is a terrible accident. As hard as it is, Sussy is sure she can hold on to Guy if she can find a way to love Matylda enough. But in a startling turn of events, Sussy reconsiders what it means to grieve and heal and hope and go on, for her own sake and Matylda’s. By turns both devastating and buoyant, this story is a brave one, showing how far we can justify going for a real and true friend.

*Prices subject to change without notice and listed in US dollars.
Perma-Bound bindings are unconditionally guaranteed.
Paperbacks are not guaranteed.
Please Note: All Digital Material Sales Final.