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Dave at Night

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,691 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews
If nobody wants him, that's fine.He'll just take care of himself.

When his father dies, Dave knows nothing will ever be thesame. And then it happens. Dave lands in an orphanage—the cold and strict Hebrew Home for Boys in Harlem—far from the life he knew on the Lower East Side. But he's not so worried. He knows he'll be okay. He always is. If it doesn't work out, he'll just
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 15th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1999)
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This book is different from most of the other books by Gail Carson Levine (and I have read most of her work in the last month and a half).

In this book, the main character is a spunky boy instead of a spunky girl. The boy is 11 years old, instead of about 15. There is no magic nor mythical creatures in this book; this one is firmly set in the reality of depression era USA.

Dave of the title is the main character. He is placed in an orphanage by his stepmother when his father dies. Dave is a rascal
Jul 07, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This utterly charming story by the author of ELLA ENCHANTED often gets overlooked in favor of Levine's fantasy books, but it truly should not be. Dave is a wonderful character, as are the people he meets sneaking out at night to dance and listen to music in Harlem during the Jazz Age. This is a beautiful book, and a labor of love for the author, whose father grew up in a similar situation.
Oct 27, 2008 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This engaging story by the author of Ella Enchanted transports us to 1926 Manhattan, from the teeming immigrant neighborhoods of the lower east side to the artistic Renaissance evolving uptown in Harlem. The sudden death of his father leaves David Caros orphaned and abandoned by his uncaring stepmother, so he is taken to the Hebrew Home for Boys, an "asylum" with a dubious reputation. There he suffers under the despotic rule of the headmaster, Mr.Bloom, but develops a close bond with his buddies ...more
Phil Jensen
Dec 05, 2015 Phil Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is rad! But no one reads it! Why? Maybe it didn't win the right medals. Maybe the cover is too boring. I blame the title! It's boring! Let's fix it! I think these would be better:


Maybe they'll fix it on the next reprint. This thing deserves to be read more. It's got tha
“If I did not know better, it would have been the last place I’d have guessed was a Home, the last place for kids to live…We went in. The door thudded closed behind us and clicked shut. As soon as I heard the click I wanted to leave.” And, so 11-year old orphan Dave Caros’ new life begins at the Hebrew Home for Boys, aka, Hell Hole for Brats. But Dave won’t runaway until he gets back his most prized possession—a wooden Noah’s Ark carved by his late father—which was confiscated along with all his ...more
Elinor  Loredan
Dave, the hero of the story, is immediately endearing, as is his papa, whose loss I feel keenly. Even in his deep grief Dave retains his sense of curiosity and adventure, and he tries to dull his emotions and hurt by insisting to himself and others he doesn't need anyone. He is actually dying to be wanted, and in the end he chooses friendship and connection over freedom, staying in the hated HHB for his wonderful 'buddies' there.

The humor, analogies, and insights throughout the novel feel very
Apr 09, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 8-12 year olds curious about Harlem Renaissance and orphans.
Recommended to Jennifer by: Global Reading Program Pick
Although clever, engaging, backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and support characters are compelling, stilted writing in this hard-luck, route orphan tale fail to deliver.

CIP: When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys where he is treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and is welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance.

"Readers will celebrate life with Dave." School Library Journal
"Historical details ring true." Kirkus

OK, so, here's the problem with th
May 01, 2009 Darla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Darla by: Heather Kinsey
(Genre:Young adult fiction) When I think of books by Gail Carson Levine, my mind automatically goes to young adult fantasy (like "Ella Enchanted", which I really enjoyed when I first read it--the movie was another story :) ). In "Dave at Night" Levine seems far away from the fantasy that I associate her with. I thought she did a great job with it, though. I really found myself caring for Dave and I was fascinated by the Harlem night life that she portrayed in the book. The story follows eleven y ...more
Megan Severance
Sep 20, 2015 Megan Severance rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a charming book. While nothing can ever surpass Levine's fairytale-with-a-twist works like Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Fairest, I loved reading her take on historical fiction. The characters are rich and full, and an added bonus was I was pleasantly surprised by the way it ended. Not predictable and totally enjoyable; a must-read for any fan of Gail Carson Levine!
Dec 10, 2013 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author project requirement

This book was definitely different than the other GCL books I am used to reading! But, it was a pleasant read. A mash up of Yiddish/Hebrew and African American culture during the Haarlem Renaissance, this story was a cultural treat. Mentioning different artists, poems, musicians, etc. made it really interesting to read and is a great way to name drop to Young Adults for future education. I love the time period of this book the most, and I am a die hard fan of orphans-fi
Mary Louise Sanchez
Eleven-year-old Dave Carros from the Lower East side of Manhattan in 1926 is suddenly orphaned when his father dies and his older brother is taken to Chicago by their uncle, while Dave's stepmother takes him to the Hebrew Home for Boys uptown. Dave discovers the orphanage is called the Hell Hole for Brats by the boys who live there and learns that is an accurate description when Dave's prized possession, a Noah's Ark, carved by his father, is stolen by the superintendant who also beats Dave for ...more
Julie Decker
Dave lives at the Hebrew Home for Boys, and the only thing he has from his parents is a carving his father did. He hates the orphanage--even though he likes his art lessons--and when he manages to sneak out and see what Harlem's vibrant nightlife is like, he's determined to become part of it. However, his loyalty to the other orphanage boys and his desire to rescue his carving keep him tied where he lives, despite his outside interests. He is befriended by Irma Lee, whose love of music entrances ...more
Kristina Befort
Personal Reaction: This is one of my absolute favorite children's chapter books I've ever read. I love how the author makes the character of Dave very realistic, so much so that I was rooting for his success as the reader. I also loved how the author did not hold back on the conditions of the home the boys were staying at. These were most likely very real issues during the 1920's, and these details made the book much more accurate and realistic.

Use in the Classroom:
Curricular Connection: Since
This book was sweet and really gave me the feeling of being in New York, of smelling the streets in Dave's old neighborhood, and feeling the chill inside the HHB. There are good descriptions of Alfie (the boy with the cough), Mr. Doom (the monster), and Solly (the gonif). I liked the fact that such an important and influential time period was described from a young boy's point of view, Dave rarely seemed to understand the gravity of adult situations. The main character also seems clueless about ...more
Oct 15, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esther and I met Gail Carson Levine recently at our local library. She mostly talked about this book and why she wrote it. Getting to know a little about her father, who is Dave, made the book a more personal read. She said it is her favorite of the books she's written. Well written and enjoyable.
When Dave Carosâ father dies, his stepmother ships Dave off to the Hebrew Home for Boys. Mr. Doom is the abusive headmaster, Moe steals food off Daveâs plate, the Home is always cold, and most disheartening, Mr. Doom has taken away Daveâs treasured possession, a wood carving of the Noahâs Ark that his father made. As Dave plots to take back his carving and escape, he meets the other age eleven boys in the home and gets to know them as buddies. Mr. Hillinger the art teacher recognizes Daveâs art ...more
I was surprised at how engaging I found this to be. Levine does a good job of creating a tale based on her father's early life. I think, perhaps, her love for her dad is part of what gives this book an extra sparkle.
Camryn Geheb
This book was a really good historical fiction book to read! It kind of has a mystery to it too! It is about a boy named Dave and his father just passed away and his step mom doesn't want him. She sends to HHB. He hates it there "Mr. Doom" his superintendent is really mean but fakes it when there are visitors. Dave ends up escaping and he finds a man names Solly who tells fortunes for money. He stays with him that night and goes to a party were her meets a really nice girl. He goes back to HHB b ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book from a secondhand shop because, at that time, I was very madly in love with a man named Dave. I knew nothing about it other than smiling at the delight of finding a book about a Dave, even though it wasn't "my" Dave.
I think sometimes we find the best literary treasures by the silliest means of selection possible.
To throw together Jewish and jazz culture in flapper Manhattan for a kids' book is gusty and brilliant, and Levine definitely pulls it off. From just enough Yiddish to
This was not my favorite out of Levine's books, is only because the storyline was a little vague. It was close to a "lifetime" story, and lacked that magic spark which make her other books pop with life. Still, it contains Levine's classic humor, has a sort of life of its own, and the writing style is, as usual, very good. Dave is a protagonist who is difficult not to like; he's quick-witted and sticks up for himself and his mates. It's easy to sympathize with his unhappiness when his stepmother ...more
May 09, 2013 Lynne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young people who didn't read the cover blurb
Recommended to Lynne by: attended a literacy conference where Levine was speaking and learned about the book then
3.5 stars
5 stars for the concept, 3 for not fulfilling expectations.

Levine would have had to make this book at least 50-100 pages longer if she wanted to include more about the Harlem Renaissance, which would have put the book out of the range of her usual audience in regards to length. But I wish she had anyway.

Dave's parents are both dead. His perfect brother has gone to live with an uncle, but no family members want him. He is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys. There he finds cruelty and kind
Jun 17, 2010 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Dewey
The cover and the title didn't attract me to this book at all, but I figured I'd give it a try because it was there to check out and I had read something else by the author that was reasonably good.

Anyway, I was quite impressed. It's a really good story. However, it's the characterization that impressed me most. Gail Carson Levine does an excellent job writing from a boy's perspective—much better than I could have expected, especially since she's known for other kinds of books from other points
Jun 26, 2013 Me rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I forgot this was a children's book?

Reading the back I expected Dave to have daring adventures when he escapes at night. High-action packed suspenseful things that you can find in New York (let's face it, I know nothing about New York-though I've come to the assumption that there's a significant Jewish population).

None of that here. Dave escapes into a social society. A personal issue now comes up, I don't like social societies. So therefore this was boring for me.

I guess I never really
Sandra Strange
This novel based very loosely on Levine’s grandfather’s experience is aimed at upper elementary/middle school readers, but the novel is engaging enough to be read by junior and high school lower readers with some success. The story: Dave’s Jewish immigrant father dies after his mother has been dead for some time. None of his relatives want the responsibility of raising this “bad boy,” so they take him to a Jewish orphanage not too far from his New York City neighborhood. The superintendent is th ...more
Apr 20, 2010 Jody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Caroline Culberson
This was my favorite book when I was little. The librarian recommended it to me when I was in fifth grade and I read it again and again and again. I loved learning Yiddish words and reading about Tom's adventures. Since I'm almost a grown up now, I am nervous to read it again because I want to preserve the magic the book holds for me; it is a vague blur of excitement and cultural color -- I believe Dave sneaks out to watch Louie Armstong!! Sooo cool. I love historical fiction!
Jan 09, 2011 Maya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has someone in your family ever died? Well Dave knows exactly how you feel. Dave has always been the trouble maker of the family, sometimes he even jokes that he killed his mom even before he was born, but when his father dies everything goes wrong. His stepmother doesn't want him anymore and is being sent to live in his uncles house. He gets sent to the HHb or Hebrew Home for Boys. Life in the HHB is hard but the weekly art lesson comforts him.
I like this book because, it combines Gail Carson L
Jan 28, 2016 Einfeldtbp21 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought that the book was good. It was about a kid named Dave and his brother got adopted buy Dave's uncle couldn't take Dave because of all the headaches so Dave got put in the H.H.B (Hebrew home for boys.) He was very upset because of Gideon left and Dave thought that he would be by his side. After he got their Mr.Boom took his dead Grandpa's carving and he needed to get that back if you want to know how he gets his carving you will need to read it.
May 07, 2012 Renee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kids Read Across RI 2012 book for grades 4-6

Summary: When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys where he is treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and is welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance.

I had a hard time getting through this book. It did not hold my interest and I didn't want to finish it but I had to for the Kids Read Across RI event.

Ideas for kick off event/ table activity:

P. 88 Dave listens to jazz music for the first time. If he co
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Just letting you all know: I'm only going to review books I love. There's enough negative criticism without me piling on. A book is too hard to write.

Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and began writing seriously in 1987. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Fairest; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Yo
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