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Dancing Through the Snow

Dancing Through the Snow

5.0 1
by Jean Little

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Jean Little's poignant novel about an abandoned girl, and the dog who helps teach her how to trust again.

Ten-year-old Min has had a long history of foster care since she was abandoned at age three. Now, let go by yet another foster family, Min continues to build a protective wall around herself. Her newest caregiver, a former Children's Aid doctor,


Jean Little's poignant novel about an abandoned girl, and the dog who helps teach her how to trust again.

Ten-year-old Min has had a long history of foster care since she was abandoned at age three. Now, let go by yet another foster family, Min continues to build a protective wall around herself. Her newest caregiver, a former Children's Aid doctor, sees past Min's hardened shell and tries to find a way to reach her...and does, finally, by taking in a sick, neglected dog that has escaped from a puppy mill. While watching the dog recover and open its heart to its new owners, Min comes out of her own shell.

Readers will rejoice as Min opens her heart and allows herself to be a part of a loving family, to make friends and to finally stand up to the taunts of a bully, whose hurtful words have contributed to her lack of self-esteem.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Mair Luscombe
Min is a young girl who is in and out of foster homes. When the holidays come, she is "recycled" yet again. A young doctor sees past Min's tough exterior to bring her home for Christmas. With found dogs, new friends and old enemies, this book is a good read. The story is well written and relatable. The only problem here is that the plot is a little too predictable, almost offering a cookie-cutter happy ending. This novel is readable, not really a page turner but still an average book. Reviewer: Mair Luscombe, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Betsy Fraser
Min Randall is dreading Christmas. The kids at school have been making her life miserable, and Enid Bangs, Min's fourth and latest foster mother, has had enough of her and has decided that after all her failed placements must be Min's fault. Min finds herself at Children's Aid being "recycled" yet again. This time, however, when Enid blames her, she has a savior. Jess Hart, a young doctor familiar with Min's past and a former foster child and mother herself, blasts Enid and sweeps Min out of the office, determined to give Min a chance. The background connection between the two characters allows Jess to overcome many of the difficulties that Min has settling. Providing a character with a similar background to Min helps her to make the necessary adjustments for her assured success. Min is allowed to make friends successfully in her new school, who also dislike the bully that made her life so difficult and help her to overcome his victimization when he turns up in her new school. Min finds happiness in reading and is comforted by tales of other foster children, given to her by Jess, such as Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me and The Great Gilly Hopkins. Readers will enjoy any of these other great books and find this tale a heartwarming story. Reviewer: Betsy Fraser
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Min is a middle school student who has a horrific childhood to overcome. Abandoned by Shirl, who regularly told her that she was not her mother, and abused by the man Shirl lived with, Min is now bouncing from foster home to foster home. But on this snowy winter afternoon, Min is rescued by a woman who has her own horrific childhood story. Min is "kidnapped" by Dr. Jess Hart and her life begins to change dramatically. While Dr. Hart visits a rural patient, Min finds a hurt, abandoned dog. The vet is not too sure the dog will make it, but for Min it is important that she does. Dr. Hart is the godmother of Toby, her friend's son by a first marriage. Toby's life has not been easy either; his father travels extensively and his stepfather has children of his own. When Toby's mother has to leave to spend time with her ill mother in law, Toby is not going with her. Instead he stays with Dr. Hart and waits for his father to come and spend the holiday with him. His father's job as a journalist has taken him to Thailand and on Christmas morning Min, Toby and Dr. Hart awaken to news of a tsunami in Asia. With the dog, the tsunami relief and her newfound home, Min's life is filled with new responsibilities as well as new relationships. Although there is a bit of fairy tale in the way that Min is saved by empathetic Dr. Hart, it is nonetheless a book that raises contemporary issues. Middle school readers will be able to relate to the many emotions surrounding the themes of identity, uncertainty and friendship. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—This well-written story handles the topic of foster and abandoned children with compassion and truth. Min, 11, has lived through a series of foster homes where she was cared for but not deeply loved. When her current foster mother decides to return her to the system shortly before Christmas, Min feels sorry for herself, but knows that she will not miss the Bangs family. From this point forward, her life improves. She is taken in by Jess Hart, a doctor who recently lost her husband and who understands the child's deep psychological pain because she, too, was once a foster child. While some elements of Min's story may seem to be too "pie in the sky," they are told with such warmth and detail that readers believe that Jess could be just right for Min. The child is finally given the chance to leave behind her fierce independence and for the first time in her life trust a caring adult who will not let her down.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Having lived with foster families since she was abandoned at age three, Min knows how to protect herself from the pain of not being wanted. When she's returned-again-to the social worker in charge of finding her a placement, Min is angry yet stoic. Surprised to find her acquaintance Dr. Jessica Hart sweeping her out of the office and into a new life together, Min still can't trust or feel safe. Little knows how to take a story that could be sad and pathetic and engage readers by describing Min's gutsy instinct for perseverance and the necessity for the self-protection so often misinterpreted as a lack of caring. It's a severely damaged little dog that truly triggers a change in Min's heart. The pets here have as much character as the humans and contribute to Min's ability to rise to the challenge when she finally accepts her home and real love for the first time. While this could have been a tearjerker-the depth of suffering Min has endured is enormous-there is sufficient humor and excitement to leaven and relieve the pathos. (Fiction. 9-12)
Publishers Weekly
As a small child, Min was abandoned in a restroom by her caretaker and has been passed between four foster families in eight years, with no idea who her parents are. Little's (Somebody Else's Summer) story opens as Min is being returned to the Children's Aid Office right before Christmas. Jess, a doctor who once treated Min, comes to her rescue, taking Min home because she too was once a foster child. Because of her past history, Min has trouble trusting Jess and making friends (the school bully calls her "Litter-Bin Min"). But Jess's love is steadfast and Min comes around ("In one glorious rush, all her jumbled feelings slid away like snow off a peaked roof. She stood transfixed, trying to take in the fragile wonder dawning within her"). By the end of the story Min has a new mother as well as new friends, including Jess's former foster son, Toby. Though, at times, the dialogue is not entirely credible, as when 12-year-old Toby tells Jess, "You can cuddle with me any time," the story moves smoothly to its unsurprising but satisfying conclusion. Ages 9—13. (Sept.)

Product Details

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Meet the Author

Jean Little is one of the world's best loved writers for children. Winning the respect and praise of critics everywhere, her titles garner awards and nominations time and time again. She is a recipient of the Vicky Metcalf Award for Body of Work and the Order of Canada.

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Dancing Through the Snow 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
EllMB More than 1 year ago
Dancing through the snow, is a very (!) good book! It tells the story of a girl named Min. Min is an orphan who gets moved to different families all the time. When Christmas is coming up, her adoptive family is deciding to give her away to an orphanage. But when they get there, Mins life is completely changing... This book made me laugh out loud lots of times, but also so many times it made me cry! It was a very emotional book. I loved it! I would recommend this to boys and girls aged 11 and up. You would also like this book if you like realistic fiction stories. But even if you don't fit in the age range, or you don't like this genre, you would most likely love this book too!