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Piper Reed, Navy Brat

Piper Reed, Navy Brat

4.5 22
by Kimberly Willis Holt

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It's not easy being the middle child, especially when your dad is a Navy Chief. Meet Piper Reed, a spunky nine-year-old who has moved more times than she can count on one hand. From Texas to Guam, wherever Piper goes, adventure follows, inspired by her active imagination, free-wheeling spirit, and a bit of sister magic. Unlike her older sister, Piper loves being


It's not easy being the middle child, especially when your dad is a Navy Chief. Meet Piper Reed, a spunky nine-year-old who has moved more times than she can count on one hand. From Texas to Guam, wherever Piper goes, adventure follows, inspired by her active imagination, free-wheeling spirit, and a bit of sister magic. Unlike her older sister, Piper loves being part of a Navy family, and unlike her little sister, Piper is no prodigy genius. Piper is Piper—fearless and full of life.

Based on her own childhood experience, Kimberly Willis Holt portrays the life of a Navy family with warmth and humor.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Nine-year-old Piper Reed is used to her family moving to a new place every two years because of her father's job as a mechanic for the Navy. "When a man joins the Navy, his family joins the Navy," he always explains. But the most recent upheaval, a move from San Diego to Pensacola, Fla.-in the middle of the school year, no less-seems especially trying for the whole clan. Fortunately there's not much that can dim Piper's spunk for long. Soon she forms a new band of pals, her Gypsy Club, and decides that when she grows up she may even join the Blue Angels flight team (which practices nearby). Though Card's voice is laudably youthful, it has a nasal tone, stretched to the limit during some exaggerated whining by Piper's youngest sister Sam. Additionally, Card's pacing often feels a bit slow for the material. But young listeners will be happy to make the acquaintance of this new character, who is slated to be the star of a series. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Fourth-grader Piper Reed's life is a moving experience, but not the way you might think. Her father is a Navy aircraft mechanic who gets transferred often, this time to Pensacola, Fla.-and in the middle of the school year! Older sister Tori is convinced the Navy is ruining her life, but her little sister Sam, the prodigy, is excited. Piper wastes no time starting a new Gypsy Club even though there's no club tree house like she had in her last yard. To make up for it, she promises those she invites that there'll be a real Gypsy fortune-teller at the first meeting. But Sam's flimsy imitation just causes disbelief until Tori takes over, complete with turban and a pink bowling ball that serves as her crystal ball. Piper's lively imagination, wholesomeness and moments of "sister magic" are likable and believable. This easy chapter book, based on Holt's own experiences, is spot on with the details of roving family life. Davenier's fluid black-and-white drawings fit the mood and characters but at times distort facial expressions. Launching a new series, Piper's foray sets sail with verve, fun and spunk. (Fiction. 7-10)
From the Publisher

“Filled with warm, realistic family situations mixed with humor, this chapter book deserves a special flyover by the Blue Angels.” —The Horn Book Magazine

“This entertaining read will appeal to fans of Judy Moody and Ramona Quimby.” —School Library Journal

“...award-winning author Holt tells a lively family story that draws on her experiences of growing up a Navy brat.” —Booklist

“Crisp writing from a National Book Award winner...” —Publishers Weekly

“Piper's lively imagination, wholesomeness and moments of ‘sister magic' are likable and believable. This easy chapter book, based on Holt's own experiences, is spot on with the details of roving family life. Davenier's fluid black-and-white drawings fit the mood and characters . . . Launching a new series, Piper's foray sets sail with verve, fun and spunk.” —Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Piper Reed , #1
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Piper Reed, Navy Brat



It was pizza night. Every Friday night, Chief picked up two large pepperoni pizzas on his way home from the base. I had just pulled the cheese off my slice and was about to put the pepperoni back on when Chief tapped a spoon against his glass of sweet tea.

Ting, ting, ting. "Girls, I have an announcement to make."

"Are we going to get a dog?" I asked.

Chief grinned, and then shook his head."We've been assigned to Pensacola, Florida."

Chief always said "we" when he talked about being assigned somewhere even though he was really the only person in the family being assigned to a new base. He would say, "When a man joins the Navy, his family joins the Navy."

That's because every year or two we had to pick up and move. I've lived everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. Before we moved to San Diego, we lived in Texas, Guam, Mississippi, and New Hampshire.

Everyone in my fourth-grade class called me Piper Reed, Navy Brat. I didn't mind, but my big sister, Tori, who was in the seventh grade, did. In fact, she didn't want Chief to be in the Navy. She wouldn't even call him Chief. She called him Dad.

"Pensacola?" Tori looked like her eyes were going to pop out of their sockets.

"When?" I asked.

"Two weeks from today," Chief said.

"Two weeks!" cried Tori. "It's only October. We've never moved during the school year!"

We always moved in the summer. That gave us a chance to make some friends before school started. Suddenly I felt like a fish was swimming around in my belly.

Tori pushed her plate away. "The Navy is ruining my life!"

"Tori," Mom said, "stop being dramatic. Everything will be fine."

"Where's Pepsi-Cola?" asked my little sister, Sam.

Mom smiled. "In Florida. Now, finish your pizza and I'll show you where Pensacola is on the map."

When we moved here, Mom had tacked a great big map of the world on the back studio wall. She said, "You're children of the world.You might as well get to know it."

"I don't want to eat my pizza," said Sam.

"I don't want to move," said Tori.

"Sorry," Chief said. "That's the Navy life."

Tori folded her arms across her chest. "Well, when I grow up, I'm not going to marry anyone in the Navy or the Army or the Air Force."

"How about the Marines?" I reminded her.

"Or the Marines."

"Don't worry," I told her. "No one will probably want to marry you anyway."

Tori burst into tears and ran out of the kitchen. A second later her bedroom door slammed.

Mom shook her head. "Piper Reed."

"I didn't say she was fat!"

My sister really wasn't fat, even though I sometimes called her that. She was a little chubby though. The last time she got upset, she threatened to go on a hunger strike. She didn't eat for two whole hours.

Mom stood. "I'll check on Tori. Piper, why don't you help clean up?"

"Jeepers! I have to do the dishes just because I'm not a big crybaby? Besides it's Tori's turn."

Chief started stacking plates. "Tell you what, Piper. Show Sam where Pensacola, Florida, is on the map and I'll help your mom."

I saluted him. I was the only daughter who did that, too. My sisters needed to learn some respect. Chief may not be an officer, but he wasthe highest rank an enlisted man could be in the U.S. Navy. He fixed jets better than anyone. He even taught other people to do it.

Sam had a pile of pizza on her plate with the cheese missing. I hated cheese on my pizza, and that's all Sam liked about it.

I took Sam by the hand. "Come on."

Sam and I walked downstairs to Mom's studio. It really wasn't a studio, just a basement where Mom did her art. Mom lighted strawberry-scented candles whenever she worked down there, but I could still smell the fumes from her oil paints.

This was the first home where we lived that wasn't on a military base. When we arrived in San Diego, Mom and Chief found an old gray house to rent with a big yard and a huge climbing tree. Atire swing hung from a low branch. Higher up, Chief had built a tree house. That's where the Gypsy Club met.

I loved the tree house. Chief built it for all of us, but Tori hardly climbed up. And when she did, she never did anything fun. She'd just read a boring book or play Scrabble with one of her boring friends. Sam was only five and too little to climb up there unless Mom, Chief, or Tori went with her. So it was really like the tree house belonged to me.

I'd had a lot of good times in the tree house. I'd lost a front tooth, spied on our neighbors, played pirates with the other Gypsy Club members. Thinking of missing all that stuff made me feel that fish bumping against my belly again.

Sam tugged at my shirt. "Piper, where's Florida?"

Her black curls covered her head like a zillion miniature Slinky toys. No one else in our familyhad curly hair. Mom said Grandpa Reynolds did when he was younger. But now he didn't have any hair.

Sometimes when Sam was driving me crazy, I liked to pretend she wasn't my real sister. Or sometimes I imagined that I was really the kidnapped daughter of a Gypsy princess. And the kidnappers had gotten scared that they might get caught, so they wrapped me in a blanket and placed me on the doorstep of this family. Of course it was only a dream. Everyone said that Tori and I were the spitting image of Mom with our blond hair.

Sam let out a big sigh and yanked at my shirt sleeve. "Where's Florida?"

"Just a second." She didn't fool me. She knew where Florida was. She just wanted me to point to the wrong state so she could show off.

I touched the part of the map that said San Diego, California. It was kind of hard to read,but Mom had marked it with a silver star.

"Here's where we are now." I dragged my finger east, then a little south. "And here's Florida."

Florida was easy to find on the map. It looked like the long, skinny bottom part of a key. I'd memorized all the states' shapes for a test we'd had this year. Montana was shaped like the head of a woman wearing a rectangular hat. Michigan was a mitten ready to catch a snowball. Nevada looked like a wide hatchet. I would have gotten a hundred on that test, if I hadn't misspelled all the words.

"Where's Pepsi-Cola?" Sam asked.

"Pensacola," I corrected her.

"That's what I said—Pepsi-Cola."

I clucked my tongue. "You're just trying to be silly."

Sam was practically a genius. She was already reading chapter books. The principal even gave her special permission to be in the Kick-Off-the-School-Year-Spelling-Bee. When she won, he called her a child prodigy. Tori said a prodigy was someone who could do something better than a lot of people. To me, it meant Sam got her picture in the paper wearing the crown she received as a prize. Sam wanted to wear that crown everywhere, even to church and the mall. It's really embarrassing to walk around with a kid who thinks she's a princess.

Sam yanked on my shirt. "I said, 'Where's Pensacola?'"

"Well, since you pronounced it right, I'll show you."

I had no idea where Pensacola was, so I pointed to a tiny dot in Florida. "Pensacola is right here."

Sam leaned close to the map. "That says Palm Beach."

My face felt hot. "Just seeing if you were paying attention. Find it yourself, Miss Smarty Pants."

Sam took a long moment checking out the Florida part of the map. Then she pressed her tiny finger against a spot. "There it is!"

Gosh, Pensacola was a long way from San Diego. I went over to Mom's desk and flipped through her drawing pad. Mom used to be an art teacher until Sam was born. Now she drew a lot of pictures at home. Inside her drawing pad was a sketch of me and my friends, the otherGypsy Club members—MacKenzie, Natalie, and Briley. Mom drew it as if she was looking inside the tree house's window.

I turned the page.

"Get off the bus!" I hollered. My Gypsy Club invented that saying. At one meeting, we decided we'd make up a cool phrase that would circle around the whole world. We'd become so famous they'd put our names in the newspaper.

Sam rushed over to me and peered at the tablet. "What?"

"It's Kip! Mom drew Kip and me."

Kip was Mr. Nelson's German shepherd. Mr. Nelson, our next-door neighbor, used to be a policeman and Kip used to be a police dog. When Mr. Nelson retired, Kip retired, too. He was the coolest and smartest dog. He could walk up a slide and slide down. He could play fetch with a Frisbee. He even protected me from the neighborhood bullies when they hung over ourfence, calling me names. Whenever they did that, he'd growl and bark. If we ever had a dog, I'd want him to be just like Kip.

"Did Mom draw me?" Sam asked, trying to turn the page.

I shrugged and stared at Mom's sketches—Kip, the tree house, the Gypsy Club. That fish was flipping and flopping. Tori was right. Sometimes being a Navy brat was the pits.

PIPER REED, NAVY BRAT. Text copyright © 2007 by Kimberly Willis Holt.

Meet the Author

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. A former Navy brat herself, Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. Holt long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.

Christine Davenier has illustrated numerous children's books, and won a New York Times Best Illustrated Award for The First Thing My Mama Told Me. She lives in Paris, France.

As a young girl growing up in Tours, France, Christine Davenier loved listening to her older sister read fairy tales aloud. But she frequently found herself wondering, What does the princess’s beautiful dress look like? or How exquisite are her jewels? Christine was left to her own imagination, for the books had few illustrations. So it comes as little surprise that today, Christine embraces her career as an illustrator. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to create the illustrations I dreamed about seeing as a child,” she says.

When Christine was fourteen, she received her first box of watercolor paints, a gift from her grandmother. That was the beginning of many afternoons spent painting together in her grandmother’s garden. “My grandmother was an extraordinary woman,” Christine says. “Even though she worked in an office all her life, she was an artist through and through. She shared everything she knew about color—in painting and in life. Her wisdom and talent still inspire me today.”

She has illustrated many picture books, including Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen by Cari Best. She lives in Paris, France.

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Piper Reed, Navy Brat 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
eleagle More than 1 year ago
Piper's two sisters are very different from her. Sam the youngest is a child prodigy. Her oldest sister is fifteen. She has a mind of her own. Piper is a rambunctious child of three. Her dad is in the navy which causes them to move a lot. I didn't like how their father and their friend's father have left for a couple of months. I would recommend this book. It was funny and sad. I loved it maybe you will to. Some describing words would be, smart word choice, funny, clubs, and gypsy. It was a really great book. Try it and you'll like it. By: Erica Edmisten
MissHelton More than 1 year ago
Written by a former Navy brat, Piper Reed: Navy Brat is the perfect book for a 2nd through 5th grader who has experienced moving to a new place and a new school. The author, Kimberly Willis Holt, did a nice job of creating Piper ¿ the fun, adventurous character that loves being a part of her Navy family. Holt is the author of award winning books such as My Louisiana Sky, Keeper of the Night, and When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.

Piper is in the 4th grade and she is used to moving. Her dad (who she calls ¿Chief¿) is in the Navy, and her family relocates each time his job requires it. Piper doesn¿t mind, she seems to find fun wherever she goes! Piper is the middle child, surrounded by an older, more dramatic, 7th grade sister; and a younger, 5 year old sister, who is known as a prodigy! Throughout the 12 quick chapters, the reader can follow Piper on her journey of moving to a new place, and experiencing all of the adventures along the way.

Piper Reed is an illustrated book with illustrations by Christine Davenier. The illustrations help bring the characters to life. Davenier has illustrated many books for young readers, including The First Thing My Mama Told Me, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey guys just so u know i was a former army brat so i relate to all of this book shout out to all the military brats out there stay brave guys !!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great for 2-5 graders
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kimberly willis holt is awesome"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... it was ok i guess..........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i can relate to this book so much i dont think girss who arent military brats would not really understand but i LOVE this book READ IT READ IT!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It makes me laugh like crazy hahaha wow it is a great book for children By:Hector Avila
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Piper Reed one of my many faves this loveable ten-year-old is very amuzing I have nothing bad to say about this it is so 5 star worthy id give it a million stars if i could five stars WOO-HOO!!!!!
AuthorMomCC More than 1 year ago
I am an Army brat and I thought I would like this book. However, it read more like a diary and didn't really engage me and want me to read more. The main character was kind of mean to her sisters and everything was "me, me, me". Not very easy to warm up to this character at all. Still an interesting story for military brats and the like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
72OsoOro More than 1 year ago
My school is very close to Naval Air Station Point Mugu.
I used this book to open up my students to many of the situations
that many of our militay families face each year.
Most of my students belong to migrant worker families that have to
on occasion move.
I used this book as a learning tool. A key that allows me to have the
children open up and problem solve matters that they can relate to in this
Guest More than 1 year ago
My eight year old daughter just finished reading this book and she loved it! It was easy reading and a well flowing story. It only took her a few days to complete it and usually she drags her feet on reading chapter books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pipier does not want to move away for her home. She moves to florida . She wants to be a blue angle.
A-Libearian More than 1 year ago
This is a great series. This is wonderful for those entering the chapter book scene. Those who have military family members, especially in the U.S. Navy, can really relate to this title. I think that this is a really good book to be nominated for the 2009-10 Texas Bluebonnet award list! I hope it wins, or comes in 2nd place!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi i love pie