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Hound Dog True

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  3,780 Ratings  ·  393 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)
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Abigail About 150 pages to read and find out more hope you like the book.
Abigail YES this book is very good and interesting.
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Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Elizabeth K.
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-new-reads
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
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.
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Is it wrong to say I had a literary crush on Mattie's Uncle Potluck? He is so intelligent and kind. He's exactly what this main character needed in her life.
Michael Scotto
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
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
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
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."
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 10, 2016 added it
Shelves: kids-read-aloud
While I was hoping for a story about "small acts of courage," the plot was watery and meandering and ultimately it was too easy to put down. DNF with 20 pages to go!!!
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lovely, lovely, lovely. The atmosphere of this story is so wonderful and all the relationships are so crisp and beautifully rendered. It's a slightly removed version of our world that doesn't deny the realities of cruel children and cruel circumstances, but gives us a rounded edge to soften the cruelty and the words to come to grips with it.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
It is not well written. If you want to read something, don't waste your time reading this! It wish I could rate it one half of a star!
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
Linda urban is such an amazing writer 💗
Kaitlyn Roberts
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hound Dog True is a very mixed emotional book. I personally loved it, I felt bad for Mattie when things didn't go right, but I was happy for putting in her heart to peruse her dreams.
Alyse Erickson
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: classroom-books
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
Barb Middleton
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: realistic
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
Elizabeth Bergin
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: berginreviews
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
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla, writing
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
Manik Sukoco
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
One thing that Linda Urban always does well is creating characters that live and breathe.
Mattie does that from page one. Mattie is a worrier and very shy to boot. She never seems to know what to say or when to say it, so starting over at another new school terrifies her. So she makes a plan. If she can be her Uncle Potluck's custodial apprentice she can avoid all the 'down' times when she would need to socialize with the other kids (recess, lunch, etc).
She starts keeping notes about everything
Sarah W
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Lori Redman
Mattie is a fifth grade girl who does not like to share secrets, and whose silence and shyness is often the cause of Mattie being teased. When she and her mother go to live with her Uncle Potluck, Mattie unwillingly and suspiciously makes a friend with a girl named Quincy.

I do enjoy the character of Mattie- the super shy, can't-find-the-words character that is not portrayed enough in children's books. Her quest to become brave in this book is quite realistic and enjoyable.

However, I found it to
Brienz Wilkening
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 689
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
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 18, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
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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
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“You can't have brave without scared.” 14 likes
“Fix things before they get too big for fixing.” 8 likes
More quotes…