Hound Dog True

Linda Urban. Harcourt, $15.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-547-55869-1
Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect) traces a highly self-conscious child's cautious emergence from her shell in this tender novel about new beginnings and "small brave" acts. Fifth grader Mattie Breen doesn't share her mother's eagerness to pick up stakes whenever "the going gets tough." Mattie hates starting over at unfamiliar schools, but when her mother announces they will be living with Uncle Potluck, Mattie feels hopeful, for once. Uncle Potluck tells funny, larger-than-life stories—the kind of stories Mattie likes to write, but is embarrassed to share with others. Mattie hopes that Uncle Potluck will make her his "custodial apprentice" at the school where he works (and which she'll attend) and that this time she'll finally find a "true, tell-your-secrets-to" friend. Urban's understated, borderline naïf narrative gives voice to Mattie's many uncertainties ("Always Mattie has been shy. Always school had made her feel skittish and small") while expressing the quiet yet significant moments in her day-to-day life. Mattie's growing trust of others and her attempts to be "bold and friendly" lead to gratifying rewards for Mattie and poignant moments for readers. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/25/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-94246-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-94245-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61657-782-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-94243-2
Prebound-Sewn - 160 pages - 978-0-606-26618-5
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-547-67730-9
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-0-547-85083-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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