In this sensitive and uplifting coming-of-age journey, nine-year-old Vilonia Beebe wants two things: a dog and for Mama to recover from the depression brought on by the death of Vilonia’s grandmother. When she learns that pets can help cure depression, she begins the Great Pet Campaign, combining the two goals. Because Vilonia’s parents are concerned that she isn’t responsible enough for a pet, she volunteers to care for her classroom goldfish over spring break. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone, she has also taken over her mother’s job writing obituaries for the local paper, and in so doing finds the perfect puppy: the runt of a litter whose owner has died. When Vilonia accidentally kills the class goldfish, she has to come up with a new plan before the puppy is adopted by someone else. Debut author Gray brings Vilonia’s small Mississippi town to vibrant life, creating a cast of warm, eccentric inhabitants and traditions, including the annual Catfish Festival. Vilonia’s amusing scrapes serve to counterbalance the seriousness of her mother’s condition. Ages 8–12. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017 Release date: 03/07/2017 Genre: Children's
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