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How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor

How to Steal a Dog

by Barbara O'Connor

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976518,821 (3.82)18

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Georgina is in a tough spot for a 4th grader after her dad walks out on the family and she, her mother and her little brother Toby are stuck living in their car. She comes up with a plan to steal a dog and then return it in to claim the reward money so she can use the money for an apartment for them. She finds a dog to steal and goes through with her plan, but unexpectedly meets the owner Carmella and sees how much the dog means to her. She wrestles with her conscience throughout the book and finally returns the dog to Carmella, admitting everything she has done. Carmella, who has bonded with Georgina and Toby, forgives her and offers to let her walk Willy after school.

Personal Commentary / Reflection:

I really liked this story, although to be honest it was really kind of sad. I felt bad for Georgina, who was put in an unfortunate situation to begin with and shouldn't have been grappling with a plan to earn money for the family in the first place! I had a hard time connecting to the mother character for this reason, as despite (for maybe due to) working two jobs she failed to be there emotionally for her children. I covered this perspective more in detail in the essay I uploaded to D2L. Regardless though, I liked the light hearted ending, and how the author kept the door open for a future relationship between Georgina, Toby, Carmella and Willy. ( )
  JeffBunte | Apr 22, 2017 |
This is a really good book with a interesting story and characters that retain your interests. It contains a lot of good moral values and lessons about choices. It is especially appropriate and beneficial for kids in the upper grades of elementary school or older as it reflects some events and thoughts that would be best suited for that the group.
  Mimarler | Jan 28, 2017 |
Great read aloud. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Review/comments posted in Novel Discussions.
  dineenvallance | Nov 30, 2016 |
Great for a literature set. ( )
  judybooklady | Jun 29, 2016 |
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Book description
This was a good story. I have to admit it was hard to read at times because it made me sad, but grateful. It seems that this would be a good read for children ages 8 to 14. The book provides a lot of opportunity to talk about homelessness. It would also be good idea for children to take part in a service learning activity around helping people or animals. The story brings to light some important topics for children to grapple with. The book touches on morals and making the right choices, and gives the reader an opportunity to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312561121, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.… (more)

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