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|Good, the bad & the beagle|
Author: Burns, Catherine Lloyd
Shy, eleven-year-old Veronica Louse Morgan of New York City is not happy about having to attend Randolf School for Girls, but by the end of her first year she not only has some new friends, she may have finally convinced her parents that she is ready to own a dog.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 174543
Kirkus Reviews (-) (09/15/14)
School Library Journal (10/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Pessimistic Veronica Morgan determines that if another family purchases her favorite dog from the local pet store, it will be a fate "worse than death." Veronica's quiet disposition and social anxiety, which seems to go nearly unnoticed by her psychiatrist parents, separate the protagonist from the rest of her friendly peers. Her parents surprise her by purchasing Cadbury, the dog she has wished for, which consumes the 11-year-old's life for months. Ultimately, circumstances force Veronica to deal with death, friendship, and academic responsibility. This novel centers on a subdued, asocial teen who becomes unhealthily obsessed with her dog, Cadbury. While Burns's visually descriptive writing brings Manhattan and Veronica's inner thoughts to life, the plotting is inconsistent and at times difficult to follow. Themes of Judaism, atheism, and a connection to the natural world float through the text, but are never truly developed or resolved. Burns fails to create an authentic bond between Veronica and Cadbury, which becomes problematic, given the protagonist's extended heartbreak after the animals' death. The girl's depression and months of seclusion seem overdramatic and unrealistic. Ultimately, readers will be left wondering if Veronica has changed or learned anything through her predicaments.—Mary-Brook J. Townsend, The McGillis School, Salt Lake City, UT - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/15/2014 Sixth grade might be the biggest challenge Veronica Morgan has ever faced. Baffled by the intricate social hierarchy at her Upper East Side private school and at a loss about making new friends, her only respite is daily visits to the neighborhood pet store, where she spends wordless hours with Cadbury, a beagle who seems just as lonely as Veronica. Just as she starts to get her footing at school, Veronica is derailed by a tragic loss, but through it, she discovers friends where she least expects to find them. Animal-lovers and insecure middle-schoolers alike will connect with this realistic portrayal of tween life. Burns accurately depicts the difficulty of accepting death and how deeply grief can impact every aspect of life. Veronica’s challenges with making friends, overcoming the embarrassing antics of parents, and finding one’s true self are equally well depicted. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one will appreciate the respect Burns gives by allowing Veronica her journey from insurmountable grief to eventual recovery. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.