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How to Steal a Dog

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Overview

Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of it.

Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her ...

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How to Steal a Dog

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Overview

Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of it.

Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is “borrow” the right dog and its owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected.

 

How to Steal a Dog is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Will keep youngsters totally engaged. This novel’s gentle storytelling carries a theme of love and emphasizes what is really right in the world.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

“This is truly Georgina’s story, and to O’Connor’s great credit, it’s Georgina herself who figures out what’s right and does it. The myriad effects of homelessness and the realistic picture of moral quandary will surely generate discussion.”—Booklist

“A suspenseful and achingly realistic story.”—Kirkus Reviews

“O’Connor knows how to spin a touching story, and reading this novel is its own reward.”—The Horn Book

“O’Connor once again smoothly balances challenging themes with her heroine’s strength and sense of humor.”—Publishers Weekly

“Will give a more privileged audience much to ponder.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“A must-have for a classroom library.”—IRA

Publishers Weekly

O'Connor (Me and Rupert Goody) blends her usual poignancy and insight in another tale set in a small North Carolina town. "The day I decided to steal a dog was the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car," begins plucky Georgina. After her father "just waltzed off and left us with nothing but three rolls of quarters and a mayonnaise jar full of wadded-up dollar bills," Georgina, her mother and younger brother, Toby, were evicted from their apartment. The three now sleep in their old Chevy. Since her mother works two jobs, saving up for a place to live, Georgina takes care of Toby after school, while carefree Luanne attends ballet class and Girl Scouts with her new best friend. A poster announcing a $500 reward for a missing dog gives the heroine an idea for helping to secure lodging. She diligently writes in her notebook rules for stealing a dog, but they turn out to be more complicated than she anticipates. The devastated woman whose pet Georgina purloins (and who is not wealthy enough to furnish a reward) and a wise and caring homeless man Georgina meets also affect her plan. Speaking with at times heartbreaking honesty, this likable young narrator convincingly articulates her frustration, resentment and confusion as she comes to her decisions. O'Connor once again smoothly balances challenging themes with her heroine's strength and sense of humor. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Augusta Scattergood
Until her dad took off and the apartment rent came due, Georgina lived a pretty normal life. She had a friend with clean clothes and the right bracelets, a bothersome little brother, and a mom who loved her. So when she and her family are forced to stuff their possessions into plastic bags and move into their dented-up car, Georgina has to figure out a way to get them out of this bad fix. And that's how she ends up with the cutest dog in Darby, North Carolina, at the other end of a long piece of string. Stealing a dog for the reward money seems foolproof: find a dog, steal a dog, get the money. But no matter how many times Georgina tells herself things will work out, they don't. Although the book's ending is neither too pat nor too easy, Georgina learns a lesson and her mom even finds a place to live. O'Connor's latest novel isn't just about being homeless. This is a story that's fun to read while it touches your heart. Young readers may choose this book because of its tremendously appealing cover. They may pick it up to read about stealing a dog. But they will be rewarded by more than a cleverly told tale. They will learn about a family who, through no fault of its own, ends up living out of plastic crates and washing up at the Pancake House. And young readers will understand that sometimes real life can make a good person do bad things.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-7 - Georgina and her family have been living in their car since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment. Mama is working two jobs to earn rent money and trying hard to hold things together. Desperate to help out, Georgina decides to steal a dog for the reward money, laying out the details of her plan in a diary. However, the dog's owner can't afford to offer a reward, and Georgina ends up feeling sorry for the lonely woman. The girl also makes friends with another adult named Mookie, a kindhearted wanderer who is camped out at the abandoned house where she is keeping the dog. He shares his wisdom and offers help, whether she wants it or not. Georgina's narrative is honest and deeply touching, as she recounts how she and her brother try to survive their circumstances. Washing off in a gas station restroom and turning in grease-stained homework become fairly normal occurrences. Readers will identify with the agony and the embarrassment caused by being different, as well as Georgina's struggles with her conscience. The book's endearing humor smoothes out the more poignant moments, and the unfolding events will keep youngsters totally engaged. The gem in the story is Mookie, who manages to sparkle even when sadness threatens to devour the moment. Though set inside a heavy topic, this novel's gentle storytelling carries a theme of love and emphasizes what is really right in the world.-Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Georgina and younger brother Toby begin a homeless life living in Mom's car, having been evicted when Dad leaves. Mom tries her best to work two minimum-wage jobs in order to make the security deposit for a new apartment while the kids struggle daily to maintain normalcy in and out of school. Desperate to help Mom gain some significant cash, Georgina concocts a grand scheme to steal a dog, dupe the owner into offering a $500 reward and then return the designated pooch for the cash. As crazy as this sounds, O'Connor weaves a suspenseful and achingly realistic story, fleshing out characters that live and breathe anxiety, fortitude and a right vs. wrong consciousness. Colorful, supporting roles of a wise, kind vagrant and a lonely, overweight dog owner round out this story of childhood helplessness, ingenuity and desolation. Georgina's reflections in a secretly kept "how-to" journal will have kids anticipating her misconceptions about the realities of theft and deception. A powerful portrayal from an innocently youthful perspective. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312561123
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 42,171
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.66 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara O’Connor is the author of numerous acclaimed books for children, including Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia; Me and Rupert Goody; and Greetings from Nowhere. She has been awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Awards, the Massachusetts Book Award, and the Dolly Gray Award, among many honors. As a child, she loved dogs, salamanders, tap dancing, school, and even homework. Her favorite days were when the bookmobile came to town. She was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and now lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts, a historic seaside village not far from Plymouth Rock.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 177 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(126)

4 Star

(25)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 177 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 1, 2009

    Great book!!!

    I can't lie - this book was really, really great! I grabbed it, not excepting a whole lot, but it turned out to be one of my favorite books! It's somewhat emotional because Georgina (the main character) faces many hardships that many face today. She is homeless, and her little brother, mother, and she have to live in their truck because they have no money, which leads to Georgina's father, who left years ago, along with all of their money. Georgina has to go to local restruants and stores just to wash her hair. It's sad to think that's how she - just a young girl - has to live her life in order to survive. Georgina has to watch over her little brother, Toby, a lot after school since her mom juggles two jobs. Eventually Georgina can't take it anymore. She doesn't want to live in a truck anymore. And she wants to help her mother and brother, so she crafts a plan to steal a rich woman's beloved dog....I don't want to spoil such a good book, so I'll stop there. How to Steal a Dog is a great, great, GREAT book! Go buy it!!! There a creative and clever twists and turns that will not leave you disappointed.

    58 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2007

    great read-aloud

    I am reading this book to my fourth grade class, and my students beg me to keep reading every day. The plot is entertaining, and I believe we all will take away two important truths: be thankful for the little things, and it's never too late to do the right thing.

    30 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2007

    Best Book ever

    I read this book in a day,it's what I call a 'page turner'. The girl in this book seems so real,everybody seems so real,the dogs that are described in the book make you almost feels as if your petting a real dog's smooth fur. You have gotta read this book!

    24 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    Read This Book.

    Georgina did not like living in a car going from neighborhhod to neighborhood with her mom and brother. She decided she wanted to steal a dog and collect the reward money. She kept all of her thoughts in one of her note books. When she finally decided to steal the dog, she found more problems. She got the dog and hid the dog, Willy, at an old abandoned house in the woods. When Georgina met the dog's owner, she started to feel bad for what she did. Would Georgina's guilt stop her from collecting the reward money? This is a good book, but it doesn't always fill in the blanks. There are some questions that don't get answered. I think this is book for anyone who wants to read about an amazing brave girl who tries to do whatever she can to help her family. The author, Barbara O'Connor, does a good job of taking a serious topic and making it into a realistic story that could happen to anyone anywhere.

    21 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Peeps

    Should i buy it or not...............

    17 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    how to steal a dog

    i thought this was one of the best books i have read in my intire life! It is about a girl named Georgeiana and how she faces life in a car and without a dad.Then she has a fantastic idea.If she steals a dog that has been loved,they will put posters up for a lost dog.Then she can return the dog and get a $500 dollar reward.This book kept me hooked till the very end.I really hope you read it! love,summerstar

    16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    Anonymous

    REALLY GOOD BOOK!!! Kids like it and so do adults, if you like mischevious characters, you got yourself a good book. So enjoy it!!!

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    How To Steal A Dog

    I am a 6th grade student in Glendale,AZ.I recomend this book to everyone who likes to read books about dogs.This is a book about a girl who steals a dog.Her name is Georgina and she lives in a car.Georgina was desparate for money and she moved to this house with a horrible background.Her old friend ditched her for a rich and snotty red-headed girl with a huge pool!

    14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    Liked it a lot!

    How to Steal a Dog was a good book. The suspense kept me wanting to keep reading.

    9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Looks pathetic

    Does it really teach u how to steal a dog?

    6 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    I

    I hate this book its really sad and made me cry. My sister read it and said i could not tolorate it and i said i could. But i have a soft heart for dogs because someone just stole my dog:(

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Good book!

    This is definitely a really good book, such a page turner! It is a little bittersweet, but what good book isnt?

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    Hello

    I LOVED this book! It was one of my favorites

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Nope

    Didnt like it... i found it boring

    4 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    How to steal a dog

    OMG ...... this has been the best book I ever read. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a good no awesome book. It will keep you wanting more!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    This book was really good, but to tell you the truth i didn't get a lot out of it

    This book was really good. But it was probably meant for like.... 2nd graders! I was in the 7th grade when I read this book. It was really good though, and I read it in about 4 days. It isn't that long to begin with. Well, It's about this girl named Georgina and her and her little brother. They both lived in the car, and to get some money, they decided to steal a dog, and hope that they would put up a reward so that her family could live in a house. Well, the dog she decided to steal had an owner. And that owner wasn't that rich, so they never did put up reward signs. You'll have to read the rest for yourself, and see what happens!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    I LOVE THIS BOOK A MILLOON TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hello everybody i love this book and i have a copy of this too its a very good,funny,and kinda sad book and you should all read it

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    Fantastico!

    Thid book is amazing it is about a girl named Georgina and her brother, Toby on an amazing adventure and quest to steal a dog (thus the title How to Steal a Dog) to get money because the owner of th dog will report their dog missing and put up signs with rewards so they can get money to buy a house (they are homeless and live in a car) along the way ae meets new friends. In thua book their are a lot if sad parts and would not reccomend to people who cry a lot. But i would highly reccomend to 5th graders who are not super sensitive

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Have to have book

    I love this book best book ever.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Great book

    I am reading it right now such a great and sad story totally worth the money

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 177 Customer Reviews

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