Judy Moody, Amy Namey

The world’s gone wacky. In the past week, Birmingham’s weather has fluctuated from the 40s to the 80s, and wicked thunderstorms and tornados have inched across the country.

As we sat in waiting last night, wondering if the storm would pass us by or come knocking on the front door, Helena began reading aloud from Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 1/2 Weeks. We muted the volume on the Weather Channel and tuned in to the story.

Judy Moody is skeptical when she first meets Amy Namey, a new kid at school who appears to be taking center-stage—as in the stage Judy typically occupies. “New best enemy” is how Judy characterizes Amy Namey, the kind of girl who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks, pry into classmates’ private worlds, or wear the same blue plaid skirt day after day with confidence. Amy Namey really gets under Judy’s third-grade skin.

But then, Amy Namey points out the incredible similarities between herself and Judy. Both have names that rhyme. Amy adores Nellie Bly, Daredevil Reporter, just like Judy dreams of Elizabeth Blackwell, First Woman Doctor. And both chew ABC gum. Got to be more than coincidence. Soon, Judy Moody and Amy Namey become the best of friends and members of the International My-Name-is-a-Poem Club.

Helena kept on reading, giggling at the silliest parts. The storm blew around Birmingham, and we trotted off to bed with the sounds of rhyming names echoing in our heads.

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