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How to Steal a Dog
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How to Steal a Dog

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  8,146 Ratings  ·  933 Reviews
Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of it.

Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama ju
Hardcover, 170 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 2007)
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A. Riley
Jul 24, 2008 A. Riley rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is a touching story that shined some light for me into the life of homelessness from a child's perpesctive. The main character, Georgina, deals with some tough times while living out of a car with her mother and younger brother. It is a real eye opener; reminding me not to take things for granted.

This is a must read for anyone who works with children, especially in a title I school setting. We may never know what our students are really going through outside of school.

2008-2009 Blueb
Sep 27, 2009 Nora rated it it was ok
I think it was the mood I was in while reading it, but I think the author missed the mark. It's about a girl who steals a dog to get reward money, and we are supposed to care about the girl's inner struggle of right and wrong while she deals with being homeless. I didn't really care about her at all, because I was so anxious that she didn't FEED THE DOG EVERY DAY. Come on. You have to feed a dog every day. I felt so sorry for the dog she had hidden, I didn't care about her own whining anymore.
Cairo Duran
It was a good book because at the end the poor family lives with his mom co-worker.
Jun 06, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book, some excellent topics for discussion with my 4th grade emotional support students. It was a little difficult in the middle because it was very uncomfortable as the main character was making some very bad choices but I was pleased with where the story ended. This book had a very real portrayal of homelessness and poverty from the perspective of a child. The emotions were well described and the story was realistic. I enjoy using literature that explores social issues and ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it
What a great story for fostering empathy! I applaud Emma's 4th-grade teacher for choosing this book for their latest lit circle selection.

Here are my favorite quotes from the story:

"Where do you live?" I said. ...
He opened his arms wide and said, "Out here. Outside."
Mookie nodded. "Yep."
"How come?"
"'Cause I don't have to paint the air or tar-paper the sky or mop the ground. All I got to do is breathe." (p. 111)

"Smart ain't got a thing to do with school," he said. "I never went past six
Jan 13, 2009 Jillybean rated it it was amazing
A Kearns library mother/daughter book club selection . . . read it in a day . . . a good, fun, enlightening read! Recommended for old and young alike!
Marialena Vourthis
Jan 25, 2017 Marialena Vourthis rated it really liked it
I think this book was good because I like dogs, and this book was very adventure -like and suprising. This book was about a girl named Georgina that lived in a car with her mom, and brother. Their dad left them and too all their money so now they live in a car. When the mom finally makes enough money to buy a house they get this really haunted looking house because that is all they can afford. Once they start to get settled in dog starts to run down the street and Georgina steels it. She hid the ...more
Apr 19, 2017 sage rated it really liked it
I read this when I was in 4th grade!! I loved it so much
Apr 26, 2017 Steve rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I got close to marking this novella as DNF, and moving on, but I preserved. I found the main character to be far too stuck-up for my liking, and her constant whining was rather irritating. The story developed quickly, and I'm glad at least that I didn't guess the big reveal at the end of the book.
Crystal Gutierrez
Oct 01, 2014 Crystal Gutierrez rated it it was amazing
I though this book was pretty amazing. this book is realistic fiction...........the title also sounds pretty interesting.SO..this book is about this little family...the mom,the little brother and the big sister.this family is kind of poor and the girl named Georgina wanted to steal a dog....I wouldn't steal a dog,would you?so anyways yeah she wanted to steal a dog to be able to get some money by selling it.I wonder what will she do with the money that she gets by selling the dog.......probably f ...more
Jan 04, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: younger-readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cody Randles
Oct 17, 2013 Cody Randles rated it really liked it
How to steal a dog by Barbara O'Conner is a book in the perspective of a young girl named Georgina. Who's family is struggling. Georgina, her brother, and her mother all live in a car because there father left them. Georgina has an idea that if she steals a dog she will get a reward for it and get good money. Soon to find out this isn't the case.

Georgina Hayes and her family are in need of hope after her father left them. They have been living in the same car and wearing the same clothes. Georgi
Jun 12, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was ok
How to Steal a Dog is about a young girl who is homeless and lives out of a car after her dead-beat dad leaves the family. She tries to keep up pretenses that her family is still intact and doing great, but her unkempt appearance from washing in public restrooms is causing suspicions. She hatches a plan to steal a beloved pet from a house where the mailbox name matches the name of the whole street - evidently a family of means. Each day, she teaches her little brother the on-going plan of kidnap ...more
Oct 12, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: homelessness
Georgina, her younger brother and mother are living in their car after their father walked out on the family. Her mother is working two jobs trying to earn enough money to get them a place to stay. Georgina wants to help and comes up with the idea of stealing a dog in order to get a reward for returning it. She keeps a journal of the steps she and her brother take along the way which ultimately helps her learn many lessons.
Georgina feels pressures pile up as she falls behind in school, keeps sec
Jun 17, 2009 Heather rated it did not like it
This book goes against everything I believe in...Not sure why I got it to read...

These kids (& mom) are homeless...the main character, a girl, is a complete brat and at one point even blames her mom for being a bad mother since they are homeless (dad took the money & left...yet it was mom's fault)...

She decides to steal a dog in order to get reward $$ and is befriended by the woman whose dog she stole...I admit...I skimmed it after just went against my entire belief system...

Lee Födi
Sep 24, 2015 Lee Födi rated it it was amazing
The teacher part of my brain loved this book for the avenues it's going to provide in my classroom for explorations about homelessness, community, compassion, morality, and justice. The premise of our protagonist, Georgina, wanting to steal a dog to make some quick cash so that she and her family can quit living in their car has touchstones that I think just about every kid will relate to. The writer part of my brain loves this book for the voice—it's immediate and striking and the reader can't ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Rilee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audience: Intermediate
Appeal: This book is definitely targeted toward the upper intermediate levels. It questions morals of little girl who has to face the tough decision of doing what is crucial to survival or what is right. It is a good story line and easy to follow. Definitely recommend!
State: Hawaii--NeNe Award
Robin Conley
Apr 23, 2017 Robin Conley rated it really liked it
This is a really cute book. Short and simple, but the characters were developed nicely and interesting, and it has a sweet little moral and ending that comes together nicely. Overall, just a fun short read and I think a lot of kids would enjoy it.
cali petit
Apr 09, 2017 cali petit rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and cool the tittle fits perfect
Feb 04, 2017 Becky rated it really liked it
First sentence: The day I decided to steal a dog was the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car.

Premise/plot: Georgina and her brother, Toby, decide to steal a dog early in the novel. Why? Because she spots a missing dog poster offering a $500 reward. Since the three of them--her mother, her brother, herself--are living in a car, they need money anyway they can get it. First she'll steal a dog, a well-loved dog, a dog with wealthy-looking owners. Second, she'll wait
Jul 06, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
How to Steal a Dog opens with the best and most heartbreaking beginning sentence in any recent piece of children's literature: "The day I decided to steal a dog was the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car." When I read that sentence, I felt like I was sucker-punched. Twice.

With a title like How to Steal a Dog, you might think this book was about the dog. You'd be wrong. It is about so much more. It is about relationships. It is about love. It is about suffering. I
Apr 12, 2013 Makenziecr rated it liked it
Georgina has a hard life. Her dad left her mom, little brother Toby, and her. She has to deal with living in a car, wearing dirty clothes, and getting ready for school at the nearest gas station. She wants a home. A REAL home, but when she asks her momma when, all Georgina gets is an angry "Soon! I'm tryin ya know!!!" So she has come up with a plan: to steal a dog. Then all she's gotta do is pretend like she's found the dog when the reward signs go up. So she decides to steal the dog from the bi ...more
Jared Burton
May 16, 2010 Jared Burton rated it liked it
Shelves: english-353
O'Connor, Barbara. How to Steal a Dog. New York, New York: Scholastic Inc., 2007.
This book is about a girl and her brother who live with their mother out of their car. They live in their car after being kicked out of their apartment for not being able to pay rent. The mom works two jobs and is trying to save up money in order to get a new place to stay in. Until then, Georgina comes up with a plan to steal a dog in order to collect the reward of 500 dollars which will allow her and her family t
Crystal Bandel
Dec 03, 2013 Crystal Bandel rated it really liked it
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor, published 2007.

Realistic fiction.


Found via Kirkus Reviews, reviewer not identified.

When Georgina's father leaves, her mother can't afford their apartment, leaving the family evicted and living out of their car until her mother can earn enough money for a new apartment. Georgina and her brother try to appear normal at school, but the pressure builds and Georgina desperately wants a new apartment, so she creates a plan to steal a dog and trick the owne
Jul 31, 2012 Sheryl rated it liked it
Georgina is mortified that her family lives in their car after her daddy up and left them. Eating lots of tunafish, bathing in gas stations, and sleeping in parking lots all over town has Georgina at her wits end. She hatches a plan to steal a dog even though she knows it's wrong. With help from her brother, Toby, the two succeed in stealing Willy. Now all they have to do is get the reward money and then they can finally move into an apartment where things will go back to normal. Easy, right?

Scout Wolfe
Nov 16, 2014 Scout Wolfe rated it really liked it
This book wasn't what I was expecting it to be, Georgina is a girl who lost everything. She lost her father, her home, and her dignity living out a car with her mother and brother, Toby, wanting more than anything to have a home so the kids from school won't see her sleeping in a car though they are wondering why her clothes are wrinkled and why her hair is greasy. For last resort solutions she decides to steal a dog to receive a reward for "finding" the lost dog. She does successfully steal a d ...more
Nov 05, 2009 Samantha rated it it was amazing
Georgina was a normal girl who had a family and went to girl scouts and dance until her dad left her mom, brother, and her with only a mayonnaise jar of wadded up 1 dollar bills and 2 rolls of quarters. Even though her mom had 2 jobs they still could not pay their rent on their apartment and they were kicked out. They were forced to move into their car. They washed their hair in gas stations and ate whatever they could afford. Georgina was tired of living in a car and found a way to earn money. ...more
Jul 28, 2009 Joice rated it really liked it
My child was given this book to read over the summer for a school summer reading program. When she finished reading it, she asked me if I'd like to read it. The book was well written and the characters were quite likable. It's a rather sad book as it is about a homeless girl and her mother and little brother. I found myself feeling this little girl, Georgina's, pain even though I myself have never been in her situation... My heart just broke when her classmates at school laughed at her because o ...more
Salina King
I found this book to be very interesting and eye opening about homelessness and theft. While Georgina has the best intentions when she decides to steal a dog she learns that her actions affected others. This book is one I would use to show students that it is not okay to steal things and that regardless of your life situations there is always a positive if you look hard enough. Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was how the author had characters in the book that helped Georgina come to t ...more
Troy Grabert
May 07, 2015 Troy Grabert rated it really liked it
I chose this book because my grandma bought it for me. I liked the dog on the cover. I had never heard of this book before.
The setting of the book was North Carolina. I liked the setting. The author did a good job describing everything. I like how she described where Georgina lives.
I liked the characters. My favorite character was Toby. He cried a lot but it was funny. I did not like their father, but the book did not say what his name was. I did not like him because he left the family with
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Barbara O'Connor's awards include the Parents Choice Gold and Silver Award, American Library Association Notable Books, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, School Library Journal Best Books, and Kirkus Best Books. Her books have been nominated for children's choice awards in 38 states and voted as a state favorite by children in South Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Barbara was bor
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