Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas

( 10 )

Overview

Meet Jake who lives in a neighborhood controlled by street violence and fear. He meets a sculptor across the street, and his eyes are opened to another world.  Or Jojo,who's closer to her three dogs than to her foster family. When Jojo tries to help another girl who needs a friend, the dogs know what to do.  Or Jamie, Erik, and Grandpa, who make up an unusual family.

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Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas

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Overview

Meet Jake who lives in a neighborhood controlled by street violence and fear. He meets a sculptor across the street, and his eyes are opened to another world.  Or Jojo,who's closer to her three dogs than to her foster family. When Jojo tries to help another girl who needs a friend, the dogs know what to do.  Or Jamie, Erik, and Grandpa, who make up an unusual family.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Cathi I. White
Jake, Jo, and Jamie are three twelve-year-olds that do not know each other, but have something in common. They all lived with abusive or non-caring parents and have to fend for themselves. Their stories are told through three novellas. Jake's world is surrounded by drugs and bullies. He and his friend, Layla, hide from the local bully, Blade, who has a way of making people do what he wants. While in his safe-place in a rat infested basement, Jake discovers Bill, who lives across the alley where the world is good and safe. He is befriended by the sculptor, who teaches Jake how to pour his penned up emotions into the art of sculpting. Things are great until one of Blade's henchmen finds Layla. Jo's story is similar, but different. Being alone, she has no friends until she helps three homeless dogs named Mike, Carter, and Betty. She spends all her time getting to know her dogs, loving and playing with them while escaping her abusive parents. One day she meets another lonely girl named Rose. Their common love for dogs builds a friendship. However, a terrible disease threatens the relationship and security the girls share. Jamie has a loving older brother, Erik, who takes care of him. Both boys are constantly moving because they have no permanent place to live. Jamie draws very well and meets Greg, who wants to buy his art. This new friendship opens opportunities for Jamie and Erik that help their homeless situation. The author has done a fantastic work developing these three novellas making the characters so realistic that they become heart-felt and gut-wrenching as the reader learns about their circumstances, cheering for their situations to be better. This eye-opening book could be used in classrooms to help teach diversity. Reviewer: Cathi I. White
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Inspired by the author's own troubled childhood, these novellas portray an unflinching look at children who have endured neglectful and abusive homes and are surviving on their own. The atmospheric first tale, "Man of the Iron Heads," is narrated by Jake, a boy of about 11, who hides from the local gang until he finds the courage to outsmart its violent leader. "Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Girl" presents a lonely girl with three adopted dogs who finds acceptance in befriending a girl with leukemia. Finally, "Erik's Rules" celebrates the power of art and is told by Jamie, the younger of two homeless brothers, whose unstable existence changes after a chance encounter with a friendly volunteer at the animal shelter. By incorporating the solace found in dogs, art, libraries, and new friends into these tales of heartache and redemption, Paulsen provides his readers with hope of a better life.—Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385746847
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 619,798
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Paulsen

GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Flat Broke, Liar, Liar, Lawn Boy Returns, Woods Runner, Notes from the Dog, Mudshark, Lawn Boy, Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day, The Time Hackers, and The Amazing Life of Birds (The Twenty Day Puberty Journal of Duane Homer Leech). Visit him at GaryPaulsen.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderfully emotional and stunning work

    Paulsen has spoken about his own upbringing as being extremely difficult - until his art and his dogs saved his life and brought him into a wonderful future. He meets and talks with children all the time across the country, and recently he was speaking about his books when one child stood up and asked Paulsen what exactly could be done when life got to be that bad. The subject of fear and unstable environments - to say the least - certainly came up. And the knowledge that there are so many out there who are hoping that one day they will find their art and their dogs in order to save their lives before it's too late, was enough to break anyone's heart. What Paulsen went on to do was create this incredible book. A book of three separate stories that look at 'real life,' and what too many kids truly have to go through on a daily basis. Each one is a masterpiece in its own right. The first focuses on a young man named Jake. Jake is a good kid who lives in a horrific neighborhood. He knows that if he stops moving, they'll get him. Simply put, the gangs are there; they watch and wait until they can get Jake into their group. So Jake stays on the move; he hides in the basement of his building at times while the bad guys are out in front on the stoop, and he spends time with his best friend, Layla. Layla has a life just as bad as Jake's. And on top of that, the poor girl is fifteen and is going to have a baby. Jake sees a sculptor living in an apartment building across the street - the street that is going through the urban renewal process. The sculptor befriends Jake, offers him food and a peaceful place to stay, but Jake has to live his life on the move - trying his best not to get caught. Readers will be blown away by how this story ends. The second tale wraps around Jo-Jo and the issues of drinking, molestation, and the reality of having to live in a nightmare. Jo-Jo has one family she relies on and that is her dog family; these are the creatures she can trust with her very life. One day she meets a young girl named Rose. Rose has her own issues, but the friendship that is formed and the wealth of emotions that appear on paper make this a truly unforgettable tale. The third and final story speaks of two young men who are basically on their own. Erik is Jamie's older brother - and his hero. After all, Erik was the one who saved them both from certain death. Finding their place in the world is amazing to watch. This is, as are the other two before it, a tale of pure emotion, respect, honor, love, and strength; tales of finding the ability to survive in a world of chaos, pain and fear. There is nothing to say, here. Readers already know Gary Paulsen is an amazing author; now they know he is one of the most amazingly inspirational human beings on the planet. Quill Says: This is a book that should be up for any, every, and all awards that the literary world can possibly give!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    6 out of 10 FIVE Star reviews as of 8/6/13 are nook/texters that

    6 out of 10 FIVE Star reviews as of 8/6/13 are nook/texters that have nothing to do with the book. What do you want? Do you want to ruin the entire system for all the readers in the world just because you want to text through your nook?? Give us a break and call each other on your phone or text on your phone. Leave the book review process to readers of books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Sarah

    "Yes."

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    is this a god book? I havent read it yet. Im thinking of buying it. Recommond it to Abby Stead.:)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    ROAR

    An enormous panther leaps to the ground... she is immortal and telekinetic.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Rick

    He lookes at Sarah. "Do you have something to ride back?" He asked, the skeletion dragon walking around in circles.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    The cloaked girl

    Leapt of the ground, transforming into a dark green dragon with blood red eyes. She flew. The only reason she was a dragon was because her lover bit her.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Ninja and his army

    Fire with guns at monsters killling the.m

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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