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|Brave like that|
Author: Stoddard, Lindsey
Eleven-year-old Cyrus knows he is not cut out to be a football hero or fireman like his adopted father, but it takes a skittish stray dog to teach him that he, too, can be brave.
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/20)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2020 Gr 3–7—When a dog is left at the firehouse where his dad works, Cyrus immediately feels a connection. As a baby, he'd been abandoned there, too. The only person who could soothe him was Brooks Olson, the firefighter who ultimately adopted him. His dad has a strict no pets policy and warns Cyrus not to get attached to the dog he named Parker. The undernourished dog has health issues, and after dropping him off at the vet, Dad instructs Cyrus to forget about Parker and focus on middle school football tryouts. The problem is, Cyrus no longer wants to play football. He hasn't found a way to share the news with his dad, who is also a local football legend. He also hasn't figured out how to explain his struggles with reading. This issue becomes even more troubling when Cyrus is instructed to write a book report for language arts class. Balancing these secrets becomes harder, especially when Cyrus begins skipping football practice to volunteer at the shelter where Parker is housed. When Cyrus is caught in a lie, it is time to come clean with his father about who he wants to be. Stoddard has created complex, heartfelt characters. Cyrus's grandmother, who has lost the ability to speak after a stroke, helps Cyrus navigate his struggles with reading and foster a love for music. The passages featuring their unique way of communicating are extraordinary. His burgeoning friendship with nonconformist new student Eduardo, who is bullied by Cyrus's former football friends, is authentically written, and it's a joy to see Cyrus finding his own voice as he defends him. VERDICT This heartfelt and triumphant novel touches on bullying, stereotypes, and learning differences in a straightforward fashion. Cyrus's journey toward self-acceptance will inspire readers of all ages.—Juliet Morefield, Multnomah County Lib., Portland, OR - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2020 Because Cyrus’ adoptive fireman father was a former football star, the onus is on Cyrus to carry on the family legacy, but the boy has never enjoyed the sport. He much prefers music and loves listening to records with his grandmother in her assisted-living apartment. Though Grandma’s stroke left her unable to speak, Cyrus understands the sounds she makes and believes that she can read his thoughts. Then, 11 years to the day that Cyrus was left at the firehouse as a squalling baby, a puppy is left in the exact same spot. The puppy steals Cyrus’ heart, and he must muster the courage to fight his father’s no-dogs policy if he is to keep the pup. Stoddard’s themes of family, love, loyalty, friendship, and bravery are tested in this small-town narrative. As the layers of the plot unfold, readers watch Cyrus repeatedly learn to be brave in his own way. A great novel for prepubescent boys, or any tween, learning to find their own voices. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.