Kids' Books We Love
Book reviews from Youth Services
Notes From A Liar and Her Dog
Number of Pages: 216
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Why I liked this title:
It is common for middle schoolers to feel different from their age-mates and alienated from their families. Choldenko captures these feelings through the voice of her protagonist, Antonia (Ant), a sixth-grader, who truly believes her parents hate her and love her two perfect sisters, “Katherine the Great” and “Your Highness Elizabeth.” She also believes that she is adopted and often writes in a notebook she is keeping for her “real parents” she hopes will rescue her from her unhappiness. The way Ant shows her feelings is by lying and by deliberately provoking everyone in her life, especially those she wants to interact with the most, her family. Ant is clearly in pain, and only her chicken-loving friend Harrison, her art teacher “Just Carol” and her dog Pistachio provide her with any relief. Ant’s voice in her diary is both funny and sharp and will draw readers into the story. Ant is both sympathetic and believable. Tension builds as Ant’s lies and actions have very serious consequences. She endangers herself and others while volunteering at the zoo with her friend and teacher. She also commits fraud when she avoids paying a needed vet bill for her dog. As the SLJ review said: “For any kid who is a middle child, for kids who have trouble getting along with their parents, for kids who are sure their parents prefer their siblings, this book will bring delight and understanding.” What middle schooler doesn’t fit somewhere in these categories? And how wonderful is a resolution to the story where both child and parent accept blame for the situation?
Reviewed by: Louise Barnett on 6/16/2010
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