Monday, May 14, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: How to Steal a Dog (and a giveaway!)

To be totally honest, the title of this book, How to Steal a Dog, kept me from reading it for a long, long time. I'd see it on the library shelf or at a bookstore and think, "I don't want to know how to steal a dog." This was silly of me, and I knew it -- basing an opinion on a title when I know there's a whole story behind the title. But here's the thing I couldn't get past -- if someone stole my dog, a piece of my heart would be forever missing because my dog is . . .  a friend, while at the same time so much more than that. Here's my sweet and gentle golden retriever Teddy. Wouldn't you be sad for me if someone stole him from me?

 
But when I read this post by Joanne Fritz, I realized How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor was nothing like I thought it would be, and I gave it a chance. As it turns out, the main character in this book is banking on people who adore their dogs like I do.

The premise: After Georgina Hayes' father left, her family was evicted from their apartment. Georgina, her mom, and her brother now live in a car. Even though her mother works two jobs, it isn't enough. When she spots a missing dog poster with a huge reward for finding the dog, Georgina decides to steal a dog, return it, and reap the benefits. But what happens when she steals the dog isn't anything like she planned.

What keeps readers reading: Georgina's voice. Georgina tells her story with such honesty, straightforwardness, humor, and grace, and the story becomes not a story about stealing a dog but a story of homelessness--told through the eyes of a kid.

What I loved: Barbara O'Connor addresses such a serious issue, and makes readers think, and like Georgina, she does it with grace.

Because I don't want anyone to pass by this lovely story, I'm offering a copy of How to Steal a Dog to one of you! Simply comment on this post by Sunday, May 20th, 2012 by 8pm CDT. International entries are welcome. And . . . if you are a blog follower, you get your name in the drawing twice. To become a blog follower, just click 'join this site' in the upper right corner. Winner announced May 21st.

More middle grade recommendations can be found under my
Middle Grade Monday tab or in Shannon Messenger's links.
Happy middle grade reading!

33 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    The dog on the cover looks just like my family's dog, who has some rat terrier in her but is mostly a mutt (LOL)! =) I love books that can be both entertaining and thought-provoking, so please enter me into the drawing.

    +1 -- Follower

    Thanks!

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  2. I've heard good thing about this. Homelessness for kids is such a hard thing and sadly there's too many homeless kids. Thanks for sharing about it.

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  3. Nice review! I love a book that makes me think. This sounds like a heart-wrenching one too!

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  4. I hadn't heard of this book before! It sounds like one my daughter and I would both enjoy.

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  5. This is a terrific book, and not just about the homeless issue. The writing is fabulous and the story will really make you laugh while it tugs at your heart.
    (No need to enter me in the giveaway! I own a copy.)

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  6. This book seems well worth my time. My cup of tea. What would I do without recommendations?

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  7. I can't wait to read this book!

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  8. Another great book for my daughter - thanks for sharing, Barbara.

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  9. I already have this book, so don't enter me, but sheesh--reading that on fb my mind completely fuzzed over.

    It's a great story!

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  10. Funny - I would have the same reaction - I love my dogs and would die a miserable death if any one of them were stolen. But it sounds like a wonderful read!

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  11. Another great review Barbara. I just ordered that for my little mentee (Kids Hope USA) for her summer reading. I so appreciate your recommendations and she always enjoys the books. I'm so glad that she likes to read. Thanks!! :o)

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  12. 1) Your dog is adorable. Golden retrievers are one of my favorite kinds of dogs. You're right, they're so gentle.

    2) This book sounds like a tear-jerker - I like your reasons for "keep reading." I'm already knowing I'll love the main character.

    3) I'm already a follower. :-)

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  13. Well, you know I already own a copy so don't enter me! Thanks for the nod. SO GLAD you loved the book, Barbara! I think Barbara O'Connor's writing is fantastic.

    Oh, and your retriever is gorgeous.

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  14. That really makes me wonder if there was any discussion about that title before publication and worry that it might alienate potential readers... HMMMM. Sounds like a neat story though!

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  15. I'm always a sucker for a good dog story. Putting this on my TBR list. I have a black golden retriever. :) She's 1/2 lab, but aside from her color, she looks just like Teddy.

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  16. That looks positively adorable!! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  17. This is a book I've been wanting to read for awhile now.

    Thanks.

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  18. I'm with you on the title, Barbara. But you have won me over.

    (You're own dog is beautiful!)

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  19. I bet my daughter would love this book. She wants a pet, but I don't think she wants to steal one. :)

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  20. This sounds wonderful! Thanks for the heads up :)

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  21. the title is definitely provocative - but i can see where the heart and sweetness of the story will be! thanks for the recommendation. looks like a good one!

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  22. Sounds like a great book! Thank you for sharing your expertise!

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  23. So happy to share this tender, humorous, beautiful story with you all -- and a copy to one lucky commenter.

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  24. I have really enjoyed previous books of yours..hope I win this one,
    Sharon

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  25. Sounds like a great story...thanks for offering the giveaway!

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  26. The cover is adorable. And so is the title. Sounds like a winner of a book.

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  27. Good Blog. Made me think about titles.

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  28. What a nice break from dystopian literature! I'm definitely going to follow your blog, as I am excited about middle grades good reads.

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  29. This sounds like a wonderful book. The title would have made me read it because I always see people walk their dogs past the building I work in. Some of the dogs are so cute that I joke around about running downstairs and stealing them. My cats would be mad if I brought a dog home though.

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  30. SOunds like a fun read! And lovely, too!

    Oh, GFC reading mind!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

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  31. I read Joanne's post too. Since both of you liked it, I will definitely give it a try! :)

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  32. Always happy to share wonderful MG!

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