How to Steal a Dog

by Barbara O'Connor

Georgina Hayes is living with her mother and her little brother, Toby, in the family... read more

Georgina Hayes is living with her mother and her little brother, Toby, in the family car. Her mom’s struggles to earn enough money for a down payment on an apartment seem endless, inspiring Georgina to take matters into her own hands. A flyer offering a reward for a missing dog has given her an idea: she’ll steal a dog and then return it and collect a reward. Of course it can’t be just any dog, and Georgina scouts out the perfect candidate. Willy is obviously loved, and his owner lives in a big, old house; clearly she must have money. An uneasy conscience is just one of many things plaguing Georgina after she lures Willy away in Barbara O’Connor’s surprisingly sensitive and believable story. Georgina’s anger and frustration, as well as her inability to understand some realities of the adult world, is always honest, and sometimes heartbreaking. Her fierce desire to improve a living situation in which she feels utterly powerless is palpable, and her missteps in doing so are painful. But she is far from powerless when it comes to doing the right thing in the end, and Georgina’s journey to that point is the culmination of this fine story. (Ages 9–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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