Very Worst Thing

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David doesn't belong anywhere.

He isn't good at school, or talking to people, or making friends. He's been in six different foster homes, and he can't really remember his parents. It seems like he'll never have anything all his own.

Then he finds an owl egg. With the help of Mab, the skinny "girl genius" of his class, he names it King Arthur and sets out to hatch and raise an owl of his very own. As they wait ...

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Overview

David doesn't belong anywhere.

He isn't good at school, or talking to people, or making friends. He's been in six different foster homes, and he can't really remember his parents. It seems like he'll never have anything all his own.

Then he finds an owl egg. With the help of Mab, the skinny "girl genius" of his class, he names it King Arthur and sets out to hatch and raise an owl of his very own. As they wait for King Arthur to hatch and as they raise the funny-looking owl chick, Mab and David become true friends.

But Mab's father thinks they should return King Arthur to the wild. Can David give up his owl? Is it even the right thing to do? What can David do if the worst thing of all happens?

David has never had a permanent home or a real friend, but when he decides to try to hatch an owl egg with the help of a classmate, his life slowly begins to change for the better.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
David has had so much misery in his life that he keeps a list of "Very Worst Things" constantly running through his mind. He is not very optimistic when he arrives at his sixth foster home at age ten. He has never been good at making friends and his stuttering embarrasses him. An easy target for bullies, he gets into trouble for fights he does not instigate. Then he finds an owl egg and meets up with Mab, the girl genius of his class. David names the owl King Arthur, based on a movie he has seen. He is surprised when Mab brings a book to their meeting place. She reads King Arthur stories aloud after they turn the egg in the incubator each day. They hatch the egg together, feed the owlet chopped up mice from the barn, and make plans to train it for hunting. Mab's dad warns that wild animals do not generally survive in captivity, but David chooses to ignore his advice and the very worst thing does happen. The owl dies. David is devastated until he realizes all that he has gained in this experience. He has a home with someone who cares about him; he has a friend; he has his first job with Mab's dad; and he has solved his problem with the bullies without fighting. An overall uplifting story. 2003, HarperCollins, <%ISBN%>0060297921
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Two outsiders warily become friends and join forces to hatch and raise an owl in this problem novel. David, 11, has been shuttled between foster homes for years. Now he has been placed with a woman who has the patience to deal with his stuttering and dyspraxia, and he begins to make great strides thanks to her understanding; his new friend, Mab; and King Arthur the owl. It is David's insecurity and need for closeness that doom the animal, but the friendship itself survives. David and Mab are successfully developed characters, but the secondary characters are not as well delineated. The hatching and development of the owl keep the story moving and help to compensate for some of the plot details that seem tacked on. David's story is adequately told, and the author wisely leaves some of his problems unresolved. This book may find an audience where outsider tales are in demand.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old David, passed among foster homes for as long as he can remember, has never had anything or anyone of his own except his sister, who is now in juvenile hall. Once again, he’s the new kid and the butt of every joke because of his stutter and being held back a year. After destroying an owl’s nest in a fit of anger, he takes the remaining egg and decides to hatch it. He befriends Mab, a "genius girl," who is two years younger than the rest of their class. The owl-raising goes well until King Arthur begins to wither in captivity, and David learns that the very worst thing is losing something you love. This is just the type of fiction one would expect from Hayden, usually a nonfiction scribe. David’s a believable child with many obstacles to mount; Mab, however, often displays too much understanding of human relationships, and the descriptive language reads awkwardly in places. Despite these flaws, this is a well-wrought problem novel for the younger set. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060298128
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Torey Hayden is an educational psychologist and a former special education teacher who, since 1979, has chronicled her struggles in the classroom in a succession of bestselling books. She currently lives and writes in North Wales, U.K., with her husband and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2003

    Very Worst Thing

    David is an outcast. He lives in a foster home and has to contend with a speech problem that makes him the target of the school bullies. When he and his only friend Mab, another outsider find an owl egg & actually manage to hatch it, you will root for this odd and engaging pair to finally have some success. My daughter and I read THE VERY WORST THING all-at-once on a rainy May night and we were rewarded with its wise and consoling message, that with strength and perserverance , all of us can manage to overcome even the very worst thing of all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2003

    Very Worst Thing

    hi, did you receive my review????

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