Animal House and Iz

Animal House and Iz

5.0 1
by Betty Hicks
     
 

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Praise for I Smell Like Ham by Betty Hicks:

"Humorous and heartfelt." —Publishers Weekly

"Funny and appealing." —School Library JournalSee more details below

Overview

Praise for I Smell Like Ham by Betty Hicks:

"Humorous and heartfelt." —Publishers Weekly

"Funny and appealing." —School Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like her I Smell Like Ham, Hicks pens another engaging novel about the ups and downs of living in a family formed from two second marriages. "Elizabeth" to her beautiful and proper mother (an efficiency expert who travels frequently for business), "Liz" to her laid-back father and stepmother (with whom she lives), and "Iz" to her three energetic stepbrothers, the narrator candidly asks, "So, who am I?" Balancing humor and pathos, the author chronicles 11-year-old Iz's quest to answer that question while dealing with dilemmas of varying proportions. She and her stepsiblings launch a "Get-a-Dog" plan, aimed at breaking down their parents' resistance to a pet that can't be left alone on weekends. Their scheme entails ensuring that the family menagerie (turtle, hedgehog, lizard and more) becomes so bothersome that a pooch will seem like an appealing alternative (their research about what animals prey on which other animals results in some comical exchanges). Alas, their plot has several unforeseen consequences: the hedgehog dies after the kids alter its diet, and one of the boys contracts a potentially serious disease from a newly acquired parrot. In a further complication, Iz's mother decides to quit her job so that her daughter can live with her ("I knew I didn't want to live with my mother, but I couldn't tell her that... could I?") and attempts to lure her with plans of getting a dog. Readers will warm to this perky young protagonist and the members of her appealingly chaotic household. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Elizabeth, now called Iz by everyone except her elegant, serious mother, is no longer a quiet only child. Her father's remarriage to easygoing Alice, with her three exuberant boys, has brought noise, fun, and lots of animals into Iz's life. Logan, a middle-schooler like Iz, and his younger twin brothers, Joey and Jack, have welcomed Iz into their hearts and into a full share of their ongoing adventures with a revolving menagerie of reptiles, praying mantises, a hedgehog, and other unusual pets. Iz loves the excitement and lively chaos of her new blended family, but she worries that signs of her new happiness at her father's home might hurt her mother's feelings. That concern becomes acute when her globe-trotting mom suddenly proposes to put down roots so that Iz can live with her full time. Meanwhile, Iz becomes an accomplice with her stepbrothers in a plot to persuade their parents to get a dog. The strategy is to let their indoor zoo become so unmanageable that the harried parents will conclude that an ordinary dog would be far less trouble. After some funny and gross animal mayhem-including the spectacular explosion of a light bulb on which a neurotic parrot habitually defecates-the GAD (get-a-dog) plan goes awry, and valuable lessons about responsible pet ownership are learned. This warm, humorous family story is full of sympathetic insights into the challenges of dealing with others, regardless of species. It is just the book to hand to middle school fans of humorous books. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Roaring Brook, 144p,
— Walter Hogan <%ISBN%>0761318917
Children's Literature
Stepbrothers, bugs, and all sorts of critters create mayhem in the Becker household as Iz tries to balance her relationships with her divorced parents in this lighthearted story. The action is quickly paced as problems mount for Iz who lives with her dad, his wife Alice and her three stepbrothers. Although their parents have made it clear that they don't want a dog, the boys and Iz hatch a complicated plot to convince them that it would be easier to have a pooch than to care for all the other odd pets they bring into the house. The plans go awry, with some serious consequences that have the kids reconsidering their actions. Meanwhile Iz also faces the delicate situation of explaining to her mother that she wants to continue to live with her father. This is an enjoyable story of a blended family situation in which all the adults, although they are not perfect, are trying to do the best for their kids. 2003, Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press,
— Carolyn Mott Ford <%ISBN%>0761327460
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-After her parents' divorce, the young narrator goes to live with her father, his new wife Alice, and Alice's three sons, moving from a quiet, well-ordered house where she was the only child to a messy house with a large family and a collection of pets. The narrator's name sums up the extent of the change and the personalities involved: "Mom calls me Elizabeth. Dad and Alice call me Liz. My stepbrothers call me Iz. One part perfection, two parts casual, three parts crazy." Gradually, shared interests and time allow seventh-grader Logan; twins Joey and Jack, three years younger than Logan; and sixth-grader Iz to become close. Together they create a GAD (Get-a-Dog) plan, which proceeds with some good, some bad, and some very funny results. Iz's voice, her growing realizations, and the situations she creates or in which she finds herself are genuine. The children are real and their growth is sometimes painful, such as Iz's feeling of alienation when she realizes that her best friend and Logan like each other. Adults are fully developed characters, not simply obstacles for the children to overcome. They, too, are capable of growth. All together, this contemporary novel rings true and presents a likable family of individuals with insight and humor.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Elizabeth, who now prefers to be called Iz, loves the chaotic life of her blended stepfamily: one part perfection-her chic, traveling mom; two parts casual-her laidback dad and stepmom Alice; three parts crazy-her three stepbrothers, Logan and the twins Joey and Jack. Her dad and Alice don't even mind the kids' assortment of quirky pets: cricket, chameleon, hedgehog, praying mantises, and turtle. But the pet the kids really want is a dog. They initiate the GAD Plan (Get a Dog), which involves adding weird animals and insects to the existing pets and then by losing control of them, hoping to convince their parents that one measly dog would be easier. The Plan itself quickly gets out of control when a hermit crab named Captain Hook and a parrot named Elvis join the gang (Elvis will only poop on top of Iz's bedside lamp, on the light bulb). Further complications erupt when Iz's mom decides to stop traveling to be at home so Iz can come live with her. Information about insects and animals are cleverly worked into the story, as are classic children's books. Breezy, contemporary dialogue rings true; Iz's guilt over the hedgehog dying and one of the twins being hospitalized feels real (from parrot bacteria); and the chapter titled "Exploding Bird Poop" is ripe for booktalk. How terrific to have a happy stepfamily, wholesome kids, caring parents, and a nicely resolved ending. The Simpsons-looking kids on the cover will attract attention to this upbeat, humorous, and genuine family story. (Fiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly

Like her I Smell Like Ham, Hicks pens another engaging novel about the ups and downs of living in a family formed from two second marriages. "Elizabeth" to her beautiful and proper mother (an efficiency expert who travels frequently for business), "Liz" to her laid-back father and stepmother (with whom she lives), and "Iz" to her three energetic stepbrothers, the narrator candidly asks, "So, who am I?" Balancing humor and pathos, the author chronicles 11-year-old Iz's quest to answer that question while dealing with dilemmas of varying proportions. She and her stepsiblings launch a "Get-a-Dog" plan, aimed at breaking down their parents' resistance to a pet that can't be left alone on weekends. Their scheme entails ensuring that the family menagerie (turtle, hedgehog, lizard and more) becomes so bothersome that a pooch will seem like an appealing alternative (their research about what animals prey on which other animals results in some comical exchanges). Alas, their plot has several unforeseen consequences: the hedgehog dies after the kids alter its diet, and one of the boys contracts a potentially serious disease from a newly acquired parrot. In a further complication, Iz's mother decides to quit her job so that her daughter can live with her ("I knew I didn't want to live with my mother, but I couldn't tell her that... could I?") and attempts to lure her with plans of getting a dog. Readers will warm to this perky young protagonist and the members of her appealingly chaotic household.

Booklist

When her parents divorce, 12-year-old Elizabeth desperately wants to live with her perfect, efficiency-expert mother. Instead, she winds up with her laidback dad, an artist who has remarried an equally easygoing woman with three wild sons, who immediately rename Elizabeth "Iz." The thing is, Iz discovers she loves her new, crazy, noisy, exotic-pet-filled house. Things become more complicated after she and her stepbrothers launch the GAD (Get-a-dog) Plan, and Iz's mom announces she wants Iz to move in with her. Yes, Iz still loves her mom, but does she love her enough to abandon her dad and her new, blended family? Hicks, the author of I Smell Like Ham, also about a blended family, does a nice job of mixing humor and heart in a setting of congenial, barely controlled chaos that dramatizes how America is re-defining family. Kids in nontraditional households will find comfort and cheer in this amiable agreeably told story.

School Library Journal

After her parents' divorce, the young narrator goes to live with her father, his new wife Alice, and Alice's three sons, moving from a quiet, well-ordered house where she was the only child to a messy house with a large family and a collection of pets. The narrator's name sums up the extent of the change and the personalities involved: "Mom calls me Elizabeth. Dad and Alice call me Liz. My stepbrothers call me Iz. One part perfection, two parts casual, three parts crazy." Gradually, shared interests and time allow seventh-grader Logan; twins Joey and Jack, three years younger than Logan; and sixth-grader Iz to become close. Together they create a GAD (Get-a-Dog) plan, which proceeds with some good, some bad, and some very funny results. Iz's voice, her growing realizations, and the situations she creates or in which she finds herself are genuine. The children are real and their growth is sometimes painful, such as Iz's feeling of alienation when she realizes that her best friend and Logan like each other. Adults are fully developed characters, not simply obstacles for the children to overcome. They, too, are capable of growth. All together, this contemporary novel rings true and presents a likable family of individuals with insight and humor.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761327462
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
03/12/2003
Series:
Lerner Single Titles Series
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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