Hound Dog True
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Hound Dog True

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,939 ratings  ·  280 reviews
A story about small acts of courage from the author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect.

Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Newbery 2012
44th out of 166 books — 643 voters
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39th out of 41 books — 32 voters


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Community Reviews

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Monica!
Poor Hound Dog True. It was a perfectly fine story, but since the author made the mistake of writing A Crooked Kind of Perfect as her debut novel, nothing else she writes will EVER BE AS GOOD OMG CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT I LOVE YOU!!!!

So, um, yeah.

There was that.

I did like it, though! Almost-fifth-grader Mattie makes her fifth move in as many years to a school where her Uncle Potluck works as a janitor. Uncle Potluck talks like the dad from Big Fish, but Mattie’s still at the point where she love...more
Kate
Linda Urban has a gift for capturing the small things about a kid's life that matter. She understands that little things can mean everything...those tiny moments that the grown-ups shrug off can be something a ten-year-old carries around for years...and maybe forever.

HOUND DOG TRUE features Mattie Breen, a painfully shy girl who moves to a new town with her mom and apprentices herself to her Uncle Potluck, the school custodian, in the hopes that her studies of janitorial arts will allow her to...more
Betsy
There’s identifying with a work of children’s fiction and then there’s wondering if the author of the work has somehow discovered time travel and was able to observe your younger self. Such were my feelings upon picking up and reading Hound Dog True, the lastest from A Crooked Kind of Perfect’s Linda Urban. I don’t want to cast aspersions on Ms. Urban, and if she wants to use her highly developed time travel technology to spy upon my elementary years that is her business. Of course I appreciate...more
katsok
I stare at this blank screen, how to describe this book. Mattie and her mom have moved, again. This time they have moved in with her Uncle Potluck. While her mom seems a bit clueless as to who her daughter is, Uncle Potluck "gets" her. He is the janitor at the local elementary school and Mattie tags along with him while he prepares the building for a new school year. Uncle Potluck seems to one of those adults who has a bit of magic in him. He can spin an amazing story, speak to the moon, fix a d...more
Paul  Hankins
Special characters like Mattie Breen come around now and then. . .please take some reading time to get to know her. She writes stories.
Michael Scotto
Dec 15, 2011 Michael Scotto rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Michael by: Colby Sharp
Shelves: middle-grade
Such depth through such economy; not a single word is wasted or misplaced in this wonderful novel. I started it with a plan to read a few chapters and then go to sleep, and two hours later, I find myself not only having finished the whole book, but compelled to write about it lest it keep me up all night.

This is a small story about huge things. It spans not much time, and certainly not flashy in its plot or incident. But in Mattie, the protagonist, we witness such a stirring and true battle as s...more
Hirondelle
For such a short book, this is remarkably thought provoking. So much I have mulled for a couple days on what to say about it, and really still not sure. It´s wonderfully written, one of those books where the meaning is often in the silences. I think it might be a great book to read aloud as well.

And I love love love Uncle Potluck. If any complaints is that I wish we had a little more of him and decisions he must make towards the ending - but then again it´s me, irrevocably an adult by now, who...more
Shannon
This book is so well-written. I can't even fully express why it's so perfect. It's the best example of subtle, strong writing that I've read in a long time.
Caroline
Occasionally I come across a real winner while book shopping at Barnes and Noble. This is one of them.

Mattie Mae is socially awkward, but inside her brain there are important things stewing. They used to stew in a yellow notebook, but then along came Star, so now her notebook is filled with all of her Custodial Wisdom notes, collected from Uncle Potluck. Uncle Potluck has made her a temporary Custodial Apprentice, to take up the time between when she and her mother moved (again) to live with him...more
Barb Middleton
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 c...more
Sarah W
Mattie Breen's used to moving and leaving things behind. Her mom doesn't like owning more than can fit comfortably inside a pickup truck. At least this time the two of them are moving to a place where there's someone she likes-her Uncle Potluck.

Uncle Potluck is the custodian at the school where Mattie will soon be starting fifth grade. She's hoping he'll help her out with her plan. Mattie wants to be a custodial apprentice. Then she won't have to deal with lunch or recess. She won't have to deal...more
Elizabeth Bergin
In "Hound Dog True", by Linda Urban, Mattie Breen has just moved and will soon be starting fifth grade at her fourth school. This year, though, it's at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School, where her Uncle Potluck is the janitor. Mattie has always been shy and reluctant to make friends, so she makes a plan to gather enough "custodial wisdom" in the week before school starts to become Uncle Potluck's custodial apprentice. She takes notes throughout the days and watches as Uncle Potluck fixes le...more
Liz Christensen
I bought a set of this book from Scholastic for my class to use in book clubs, so I decided I needed to read it. I loved the story. I loved Mattie and Uncle Potluck. I loved how Mattie learned to be brave. I know some kids in my class who will really relate to this story.
Elizabeth K.
I thought this book was weird, but can't really put my finger on why I didn't like it more. A shy girl and her mother move back to her mother's hometown, where they live with two uncles -- one of them I kept forgetting about because he's hardly ever in the story, and the other one who is a custodian at the school the girl will attend in the fall.

All the elements are pleasant enough, but they come together in strange ways. I know shy kids learning how to make friends is a common theme in literatu...more
Kirby
What I love most about a Linda Urban book is the white space she leaves for me as a reader to enmesh myself in a story. She has really mastered that urge to explain many of us suffer from. I loved Mattie from the get-go and having suffered as the new kid myself almost every year of my growing up, I could definitely relate to her plan to avoid lunches and recess by earning the right to be her Uncle Potluck's custodial apprentice.

Linda notices the small things that make a huge difference in peopl...more
Angela
Jan 19, 2012 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: smart kids
I love Linda Urban. A Crooked Kind of Perfect is such a gem of a book, and Hound Dog True is not far behind. The plot is good but not unique - girl can't make friends because her mother moves them every time the "going gets tough". But the writing is so, so good. Urban doesn't write down to kids. In fact, there's subtlety in story that she trusts kids will pick up on. I'd hand her books to every fifth grade girl coming out of the nearby elementary school if I could afford it.
Librarian
Mattie, who has moved a million times before, moves to town with her mom and latches on to her funny and understanding Uncle Potluck, the custodian at her elementary school. She decides that she wants to be a custodial apprentice, and writes down all the pieces of wisdom that Uncle Potluck doles out.

The thing that struck me the most was that Mattie lives in a working class world that doesn't get a lot of play in novels like this. All of the adults in Mattie's life don't have it easy, but they lo...more
Lauren
Thank you to Shelley for encouraging me to stick with this middle grades book about a painfully shy girl. While it was a slow starter for me, it had gained a special place in my heart by the time I finished. I wish I had read this book as a kid. As the main character realizes--the assumptions we make regarding what other people are thinking and feeling can be so far off, causing all kinds of miscommunication and hurt feelings. What a powerful lesson for a girl to learn as she embarks on those tw...more
Judy
I truly wish that I had been able to read Hound Dog True as a child. Linda Urban's writing is sweet and refreshing, heartfelt and insightful - a book for all ages to read, experience and be inspired by. This was very good. After the first page I didn't stop until I was done! As a child I too loved to write stories and was very shy. Being still quite shy, I really connected to Mattie and her struggles. I loved Mattie's story about Poor Moe (a button) and his going off to have adventures. I apprec...more
Rad
It has a very interesting voice, one that reminds me of Uma Krishnaswami's The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. (Maybe only because they're both present tense third-person?)

Anyway, it's a quick read, though the language is a bit like honey - it takes a minute to swallow. But I LOVED the bit about Moe. That is the most adorable piece of scenery I have ever, ever read.
Amelia Loken
Sweet story of shy, sensitive Maddie May Breen who starts a new chapter of her life living with her uncle and recording his Custodial Wisdom in her new notebook. Though a quiet story, this will really speak to those who struggled to find their voice with bullies or others. Wonderful and sweet. Recommend for any mid-elementary to middle school child. Parents may enjoy this book as a read aloud/ discussion book with kiddos.
Claire
I really enjoyed this novel. Linda Urban perfectly captures what it feels like to be a shy 10 year-old. Although I was never as cripplingly shy as the narrator of this book, I still recognized many of my own thoughts from way back when in Mattie. The book traces Mattie's attempt to make her first real friend and Mattie's special relationship with her uncle. It also showcases Mattie's love of writing. It's funny, I received this book last year for free as part of a scholastic offer. I didn't real...more
Niki (Daydream Reader)
This is hands down my favorite chapter book of 2011! Linda Urban made me wish that I had a Uncle named Potluck! You know a book is good when you wish the characters were real people that you could meet and share stories with in your living room. Excellent book! I hope my fourth grade students love it as much I do. I can't wait to find out!
Frezanda
It's a bit hard to get into this book at the beginning. But I guess the second half of the book somehow make it worth it. There is no big bang or drama but I felt elated by it. In the end I thought to myself, " Ahh, this girl is going to be fine. She can do it. Facing life with its difficulties."
Kris Patrick
I've heard wonderful things about Linda Urban.. And don't get me wrong, she's a talented writer...think I started with the wrong title? Not sure if this coming-of-age story lacks punch or I'm growing tired of the formula (gasp!). Probably a combination of both.
Nancy


Loved this book. Loved Uncle Potluck. Loved the writing. Loved the message and sweet little Mattie trying to be who she is. Thanks to everyone who recommended it, especially my Nerdy Book Club friends!
Donalyn
This beautifully written, simple book describes one girl's journey to overcome her shyness and make a friend.
D.G.
**3.5 stars**

Made me cry at the end...review to come.
Charlyn  Trussell
It is almost time for school to start and Mattie Breen will once again by the new girl at school. Each time her mom finds herself uncomfortable with her job, she and Mattie pick up and move someplace else to start over. This time, however, they've moved in with Potluck, Mattie's uncle and the custodian at the school Mattie will attend.

Mattie dreads lunches and recesses without friends at school, but she could spend those times with Potluck is she could convince him to let her become his apprent...more
Carol Royce Owen
Darn it! Here's another book that I'm going to have to buy again. I bought it on audio and listened to it in the car today (had a long trip to take), and as I was listening I so wanted to be holding the book in my hand so I could see how it looked on a page. I wondered it Mattie's journal entries were shown like a page from a journal, and I wondered if Quincy's drawings of Poor Mo would be found adorning the pages.

Hound Dog True is a story of Mattie Bean, almost 5th grader, niece to Uncle Potluc...more
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This was from the About Me section at Linda Urban's website.


I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in a suburban house that looked like all the others on my street. Sometimes I liked that sameness. It made me feel normal, when I worried I wasn’t.

Other times, though, I wanted to be different — to shine, to have people see me as special. I tried ballet dancing and singing and playing musical in...more
More about Linda Urban...
A Crooked Kind of Perfect The Center of Everything Mouse Was Mad Hopping Mad The Center of Everything

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“You can't have brave without scared.” 11 likes
“Fix things before they get too big for fixing.” 6 likes
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