Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

While Linda Urban does a great job creating interesting kooky characters who can make changing a lightbulb, fixing a leaky faucet, or installing doorknobs fun; I found this book a tad boring. It does have some great themes about making friends, believing in yourself, and finding what you are good at in life. Problem is it takes awhile getting there and I found it slow in the beginning. Sweet, but slow. Mattie is painfully shy and likes to spend her time with Uncle Potluck, a funny man who is a custodian at the nearby elementary school. They have a terrific relationship and the beginning slowly progresses as Uncle Potluck makes work fun calling the lightbulb a “distinguished veteran” that needs a proper burial or saluting the portrait of the principal of the school. Mattie writes in her journal what they do each day because she likes writing. She used to write stories until she had a bad experience at her previous school.

Mattie has problems talking to other adults or peers because of her crippling shyness. She remembers standing in front of a class and saying something stupid and being teased by other students. She has moved many times to many different schools and it has been really hard on her. When she and her mother live with her uncle, Mattie meets the girl next door where she becomes friends with her although it is not easy, particularly when they first see each other.

Mattie thinks in choppy sentences and there are many images throughout the story where I had to go back or stop to think about what the author was writing because the imagery got to be too much. The sentences made me think of Frances Hardinge’s book, Fly By Night, except not as extreme. Hardinge’s plot got lost in the collage of beautiful sentences and images. In Hound Dog True it seemed that the word choice and metaphors sometimes interfered with the story’s pacing, especially in the beginning of the story.

Some readers might be uncomfortable with the references to girl’s changing bodies. Quincy is more mature and there are references about bras several times. The book is a quick read, entertaining, and unique with the voice of a terribly shy girl.

Reading Level 4.3
:-):-):-) 3.5 out of 5 Smileys

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