The Truth of Me

( 1 )

Overview

When Robbie spends the summer at his grandmother Maddy's house, he revels in his grandmother's easy, relaxed ways. Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life?his parents don't always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right.

This poignant story from beloved author Patricia MacLachlan ...

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The Truth of Me

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Overview

When Robbie spends the summer at his grandmother Maddy's house, he revels in his grandmother's easy, relaxed ways. Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life—his parents don't always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right.

This poignant story from beloved author Patricia MacLachlan celebrates how our unique "small truths" make each of us magical and brave in our own ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A boy discovers newfound courage and an old family secret during an eventful summer stay with his beloved grandmother in Newbery Medalist MacLachlan’s brief but emotionally intense novel. Robbie can’t wait to visit his grandmother Maddy, who will care for him and his dog, a “brown hound mix” named Ellie, when Robbie’s parents go on tour with their classical music quartet. Unlike his distant and distracted mother and father, Maddy likes to have adventures, tells awesome stories, and even communes with wild animals near her home. Robbie doesn’t care that Maddy’s stories make people nervous, even if he’s not sure they’re true. When an overnight campout with Maddy takes a scary turn, Robbie must call on Ellie and Maddy’s friend Henry to help them, and the ordeal spurs some important revelations. MacLachlan demonstrates her mastery of elegantly unfolding a tale and gently plucking at readers’ heartstrings without taking a maudlin tone. The story’s satisfying but not overly neat ending suggests a hopeful path forward for these memorable characters. Ages 6–10. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (July)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for Kindred Souls: “The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Kindred Souls: “The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.”
Children's Literature - Jeanna Sciarrotta
Robbie is the only child of musicians who seem to get lost in their music more than they pay attention to him. While they are away on tour, Robbie and his dog, Ellie, spend the summer at his eccentric grandmother Maddie's house. Robbie loves spending time with her, even if his mom does not always agree with everything that Maddie does. Maddie makes Robbie feel comfortable and relaxed. He knows he can share anything with her and through this bond; he comes to realize that he is missing something with his parents that he cannot quite put his finger on. In this one summer, Robbie, with the help of Maddie, will strive to really figure out his own "truth of me." Young readers who have ever felt lonely or have a special relationship with a grandparent will enjoy this younger version of a coming of age story. With its simplistic language and easy to follow plotline, all of the emotions that Robbie goes through—especially the strained relationship with his parents, are clearly laid out and relatable on a youthful level. Reviewer: Jeanna Sciarrotta
Kirkus Reviews
Robbie, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, is a bit of a sobersides, a solemn young narrator, given to adult tone and phrasing in his spare, first-person, present-tense account of an unexpected adventure. Robbie seems to withhold something of himself, unsure whether to trust his feelings even as he resents and longs for his similarly contained, talented mother. Robbie's parents leave him and Ellie, his well-behaved dog, with Maddy, his grandmother, as they depart for a concert tour with his mother's string quartet. Maddy has the ability to attract and communicate peacefully with the wild creatures of the forest, and it troubles Robbie that his parents find her eccentricity worrisome. And though the dog remembers Maddy's doughnut dinner, apparently Maddy has forgotten ever meeting the dog when she quizzes Robbie about Ellie before their arrival. The stay at Maddy's house becomes an inadvertent test of Robbie's ability to trust as well as to meet a challenge when his grandmother is injured on an overnight camping trip and a bear comes close to camp. In learning that he can rely on his own strengths ("small truths," as Henry puts it) Robbie also finds that he is able to be generous with his love. Some readers may find the gentle pace lacking in excitement, but for others, Robbie's quietly affecting observations will feel like truth. (Fiction. 8-10)
The Horn Book
Praise for Kindred Souls: “These are time-sculpted themes-the bond between a child and a grandparent, a child’s first experience of death, the comfort of continuity and connection to the natural world—and MacLachlan gives them her particular stamp of plain speaking and poetry.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Kindred Souls: “The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.”
ALA Booklist
“A spare, poetically composed tale written in short chapters perfect for beginning read-it-alonereaders, this should resonate with young and old alike—and makes for a great intergenerational story to share.”
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—An elegant exploration of love and familial relationships. Robbie is looking forward to spending the summer with his grandmother, Maddy. He likes her eccentric stories, he likes that wild animals come right up to her, and he likes how Maddy makes his parents nervous. Robbie often feels that his parents, accomplished professional musicians, love their instruments more than him. Over the course of the summer, Maddy helps him realize that he can be brave enough to express his feelings openly even though his mother might not be capable of saying "I love you" in return. This story is well paced and rhythmic in its dialogue, lending itself well to a group read-aloud. This is a sweet, easy chapter book that teaches children about coming to terms with their own feelings as well as accepting and appreciating others for their own "small truths." —Tiffany O'Leary, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061998591
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 142,008
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb's Story; More Perfect Than the Moon; Grandfather's Dance; Word After Word After Word; and Kindred Souls. She is also the author of many much-loved picture books, including Three Names; All the Places to Love; What You Know First; Painting the Wind; Bittle; Who Loves Me?; Once I Ate a Pie; I Didn't Do It; Before You Came; and Cat Talk—several of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives with her husband and two border terriers in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan Katherine Tegen Books, 20

    The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
    Katherine Tegen Books, 2013 (8/6/13)
    Realistic Fiction
    128 pages
    Recommended for grades 3-5




    Sure, with its length, white space and large text size this book looks like an easy read, accesible to second graders and third graders.  But when you begin discovering the tone and themes of the story it is easy to realize that this book shouldn't be wasted at too young an age.  Just because they can read the words does not mean they are understanding the story, we know that :)
    Written in short, simple sentences, first person narrator, Jack, unpacks his feelings on being overlooked by his musician mother for the majority of his life.  When Jack spends part of the summer with his grandmother he is given clues as to why his mother act as she does.  (This doesn't explain why his father isn't winning any Father of the Year trophies, but we can let it slide.)  Jack desperately needs to feel taken care of, staying with his grandmother he gets the opportunity to care for others, which proves to be just as important.
    The cover might entice animal loving readers into what appears to be an outdoorsy story, and they will be disappointed if that is all they are looking for.  Yes the wilderness and animals are within this short story, but this story of self discovery is much more than that, perhaps too much for some of the readers this will attract.  But then there is the other side of this: perhaps young readers will pick it up and be amazed at what they can learn and understand when presented "big" ideas in a little package.
    The Truth: There are few loving creatures on this planet that can compare to a dog.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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