Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hound Dog True” as Want to Read:
Hound Dog True
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hound Dog True

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,960 ratings  ·  339 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
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hound Dog True, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kim Yes I think so. I read this in my school
Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtA Monster Calls by Patrick NessWonderstruck by Brian SelznickDivergent by Veronica RothInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Newbery 2012
54th out of 139 books — 703 voters
Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren LiptonRemember Dippy by Shirley Reva VernickKing of the Screwups by K.L. GoingInside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn by Sarah MillerHound Dog True by Linda Urban
Close-Up Shirts
5th out of 11 books — 4 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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
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. Its 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 its me, irrevocably an adult by now, who wa
Alyse Erickson
In this book, by Linda Urban, the main character Mattie is a very shy young girl whom changes schools multiple times throughout her life and finds herself having a very hard time adjusting. When she finally changes to her final school, Mattie chooses not to try to make friends. Before She had moved, Mattie had some issues with bullies and making friends so she refuses to put herself back out there like that. So therefore, Mattie takes to her uncle, whom is the janitor for her school. On her down ...more
The book that I read is called Hound Dog True.The book is about a girl name Mattie Breen,and her mother. They moved so many times, and this last time they moved with uncle Potluck. The one thing that Mattie was worried about was, that she wasn't going to make friends. The reason for that is because of what had happened at the last schools she attended. Luckily her school that she's going to her uncle Potluck is a janitor there. Mattie wanted her uncle to put her on as a custodial appreciate, bec ...more
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."
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.
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
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
Once again, Mattie Breen and her mother have moved, and as a new school year approaches, Mattie dreads having to be the new girl in class once again. In order to avoid another painful introduction or try to find somewhere to eat during lunch, she has been following her Uncle Potluck around the school as he practices what he calls the Custodial Arts. She figures she'll just hang out with him or help him out. Mattie is quiet and shy, and prone to writing down her thoughts and creating stories in a ...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
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
Brienz Wilkening
This story is about a little girl who moves a lot and again moves to a new home. She moves into her moms old house with her mom and uncle. She is very close with her uncle but is still very closed off and shy. She likes to write in her notebook, if no one else sees it, and she likes to work with her uncle. This book was an easy read, but also hard to follow sometimes. Throughout the whole book I was going back and forth on who I thought the narrator was. Sometimes it seemed like the little girl ...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.
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
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.
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
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
Ashley Saunders
Urban, L. (2011) Hound dog true. New York. Harcourt Children's Books.

Kirkus Starred Reviewed

Fiction Choice: Contemporary Realism

Mattie is a young girl that seems to always be the "new girl" at schools because she bounces around from place to place with her mother. One of her biggest struggles is how shy she is. Instead of wanting to socialize with her new classmates she ends up spending her time helping her uncle who is the janitor for the school. Mattie learns that her uncle really understands
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
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.
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!
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • When Life Gives You O.J.
  • Marty McGuire
  • Sparrow Road
  • Bigger than a Bread Box
  • A Handful of Stars
  • Warp Speed
  • The Friendship Doll
  • Junonia
  • Death by Toilet Paper
  • The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
  • The Great Good Summer
  • The Trouble with May Amelia (May Amelia, #2)
  • Summer of the Gypsy Moths
  • A Dog Called Homeless
  • On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
  • Addie on the Inside (The Misfits, #3)
  • What Happened on Fox Street
  • The Year of the Book
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 about Linda Urban...
A Crooked Kind of Perfect The Center of Everything Mouse Was Mad Little Red Henry Milo Speck, Accidental Agent

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“You can't have brave without scared.” 13 likes
“Fix things before they get too big for fixing.” 7 likes
More quotes…