Monday, October 17, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday -- Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

My apologies if someone else has recently reviewed this.  Sooner or later, two of us will feature the same book on the same day.  Inevitable, right?

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban (September 2011, Harcourt Children's Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547558691, $15.99, for ages 9 to 12)

Source: advanced reading copy from publisher

Synopsis (from the publisher and Indiebound):

A story about small acts of courage from the author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect.

Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potluck’s apprentice, she’ll have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth graders. But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Mattie’s plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.

Why I liked it:   This is one of those quiet books that I love so much.  I could see this winning a Newbery honor in January.  The voice is perfect and the characters are wonderful, especially  Mattie and Uncle Potluck (great name!).  This book is all about overcoming shyness and I well remember being painfully shy in elementary school.  This is the kind of book I would have clutched to my chest and loved when I was 8 or 9.  The PJ buttons alone (see cover) made me cry.  Mattie worries so much at night that she twists and twists the buttons (how adorable is it that she names them Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Moe?) until she twists poor Moe right off and loses him.  Sounds heartbreaking, but there's plenty of positive stuff here too, especially with Uncle Potluck's gentle guidance.  Mattie's mother finally begins to see what her daughter really needs.  And a new neighbor just may turn into a real friend for Mattie.

MMGM is the brainchild of Shannon Whitney Messenger.  Other regulars include (but are not limited to):

Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now 
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau
Anita Laydon Miller at her middle grade blog
Michael G-G at Middle Grade Mafioso
Pam Torres at So I'm Fifty
Ms. Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads
Danika Dinsmore at The Accidental Novelist
Jennifer Rumberger at her blog

What quiet middle grade novels have you loved as a child (or more recently)?


  1. I was shy as a kid too. I would have liked a book like this. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hi Natalie! I sometimes wonder if most writers started out as shy children. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. This sounds like a sweet book. I like quite books. I'll have to check it out.

  4. Quiet, voice perfect books are my favorites. I'm sure I would have loved this book as a girl too. Sometimes when I'm in a crowd of people I don't know, I'd still rather have a 'job' than chat.

  5. This sounds so nice Joanne. I'll have to check it out.

  6. I am going to buy this one right now!! Great review, Joanne. Follow My Leader by James Garfield was one of my quiet favorites.

  7. I was shy, too - still am. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Hi Carrie! Thanks for visiting today.

    Oh Barbara, I know exactly what you mean.

    Kat! Glad to see you here. Thanks.

    Wow, thanks, Shannon! I think we've talked about Follow My Leader before. I love it too. So happy it's still in print.

    Myrna, I've always been shy. I think working at the bookstore and having to be forced to go up to customers and actually talk to them has taken some of that away from me!

  9. I recently reviewed A Crooked Kind of Perfect and absolutely loved it! I can't wait to read this one!!

  10. "until she twists poor Moe right off and loses him" - oh, that just made my heart go squeak.

  11. Sounds like a great book. One I'd like to read to my grandchild. Thanks for the review. Just read "Milo and sticky notes". Should I post a review on my blog and write you to link it up and maybe Shannon Messenger who gave it to me? I'd appreciate your advice, Clar

  12. Hi Pam! I remember your review of Crooked Kind of Perfect It's what made me add it to my TBR list.

    Oh yes, Danika, it's that kind of book.

    Hi Clar, and welcome. You can always post a review of a middle grade book on Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays! The more, the merrier. Just let Shannon M. know, so we can all link up from there. If you're going to post MMGM reviews on a regular basis, I'll add you to my list.

    That goes for anyone else I've forgotten to include. Just let me know.

  13. I love quiet books. Can't wait to read this one. Thanks!

  14. Hi Jennifer! Glad it sounds appealing to you. It's lovely.

  15. This is one of my must reads, Joanne. Thanks for featuring it and telling us a little more about it!

  16. Hi, Joanne. I just read Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. What a beauty!
    And congratulations; on my latest post, I've chosen you for the Versatile Blogger Award. You deserve it!

  17. Hi Deb. Hope your daughter's doing well. Thanks for stopping by when you're so busy.

    Janice, thank you so much. I'm honored. And how interesting to hear you loved BREADCRUMBS. I tried but couldn't get through it.

  18. Hi Joanne,

    I'm an extroverted introvert, if that makes any sense.

    This is one of the 144 novels in my huge TBR for the Cybils pile. I'm looking forward to it.

  19. Makes sense to me! Michael, I figured we wouldn't hear from you for a few weeks! Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to hear about the experience of reading so many books so quickly.


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