Against the Odds

Against the Odds

3.7 4
by Marjolijn Hof
     
 

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Kiki lives with her mother, father, and repulsive old dog. Life is good except that her father, a doctor, feels compelled to constantly embark on humanitarian missions to dangerous places. No matter how persuasive her arguments, Kiki can't convince him to stay home. Her mother explains the odds — there’s very little chance her father will die because,

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Overview

Kiki lives with her mother, father, and repulsive old dog. Life is good except that her father, a doctor, feels compelled to constantly embark on humanitarian missions to dangerous places. No matter how persuasive her arguments, Kiki can't convince him to stay home. Her mother explains the odds — there’s very little chance her father will die because, after all, how many of her friends' fathers have died? Unconvinced, Kiki dreams up ways to bolster those odds. If it’s unlikely that a girl would lose her father, wouldn't it be twice as unlikely that she'd lose a father and a pet? When her father actually does go missing, and her mother becomes increasingly distraught, Kiki feels she really must do something — but can she live with the consequences of committing such a terrible, irrevocable act? This perceptive and compelling novel deals with serious moral issues in a funny, deeply human way.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

• A USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2009

"Hof reaches adeptly into Kiki's mind and scattered emotions, allowing her to tell her own story in simple, childlike language … Her plight will resonate with young readers…" — Kirkus

"The little girl's desperate reasoning is spot on in terms of developmental level and worldview. Her mother's conflicts-how much information to share, how to maintain a sense of normalcy-are also heartrendingly realistic." — Horn Book Magazine

" … a sensitive and honest portrayal of a family during a time of great stress."— School Library Journal

Julie Just
…most strikingly, the novel lets us see [Kiki's] parents as she does—as real and flawed, if lovable, people.
—The New York Times
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—This short episodic novel has won major Dutch and Flemish children's book awards. Kiki's father is traveling to a war zone as a doctor, and the child and her mother worry that he won't return. As soon as he leaves, Kiki starts planning to increase the odds that he will be safe. Her innocent reasoning is precious. She doesn't know anyone with both a dead father and a dead pet. Her plan is somewhat creepy since it involves having her dog die to ensure that her father doesn't. Finally a stranger gently assures her that she can't control the odds. Father doesn't die, but he isn't completely safe, either. The setting is present day, but the language and writing style are a bit old-fashioned, yet comforting. The story is engaging and gives readers a chance to develop empathy as they follow Kiki's reasoning and emotional journey. Kiki's mother and grandmother have different ways of dealing with their worry for Father.—Sharon R. Pearce, Longfellow Elementary School, Oak Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Kiki has a lot to worry about: Her father is a doctor who travels to war zones. So far he has always returned safely, but even that is cause for concern, because his luck might not hold. He could become seriously ill or have an accident. Worst of all, he could be wounded or killed. Now he is off to yet another hot spot, and although Kiki tries to find ways to lower the odds for disaster, nothing she does, no matter how bizarre, can change the outcome. Hof reaches adeptly into Kiki's mind and scattered emotions, allowing her to tell her own story in simple, childlike language as she tries to comprehend and interpret the sequence of events and the reactions of her family and friends. Her plight will resonate with young readers whose parents must be away from home for any reason and with those who worry anyway. It is not a reassuring tale, however-"knowing everything," as Kiki wants to do, rarely is-and it should, perhaps, be read with a trusted adult. (Fiction. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888999504
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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