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Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Being responsible is NOT easy.

Fourth grader Vilonia hasn’t lost her rain coat in the three weeks she’s had it, and she’s brushed her teeth every night and she’s volunteered to be the Friday Library Helper. But all that hard work is worth it if it means she can get a dog. Besides, this dog isn’t just because Vilonia has wanted one for pretty much ever. It’s also to help M
176 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Paula Wiseman Books
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Average rating 4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  174 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Wendy MacKnight
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
I was in love with Vilonia Beebe and her home from page one, so evocative and charming is Gray's writing. Vilonia's family is reeling since Nana's death: Mama's checked out, Daddy is struggling to keep up, older brother Leon can be so annoying. So Vilonia steps up to take care of everyone, sometimes to disastrous results. I'm not giving away many details here because this wonderful book deserves to have its petals unfold to the reader in it's charming voice. This book is a gift; it perfectly ref ...more
Karen Akins
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to read an early version of this, and OH MY GOODNESS. Vilonia is such a fun, adorable, spunky kid. This book is hilarious and heartwarming, and I can't wait for Vilonia Beebe to take the world by storm. :) ...more
Alexandra Ott
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely adorable! Vilonia Beebe completely stole my heart with her determination and spunk. Her voice is pitch-perfect, and all of the characters are so lovable and well-drawn. I read this in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down. An absolutely charming, heartwarming middle grade debut. Highly recommend! ...more
Michele Knott
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book for the early middle grade crowd!
Young readers will love reading about Vilonia's adventures. They'll cheer for her and want to give her a hug!
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I totally fell in love with Vilonia Beebe! What a charming MG story filled with runaway chickens, an adorable tiny pug dog, library fish, and a ten-year-old obituary writer. This is a sweet story filled with love and charm!
Vilonia Beebe was a cute, quick read about a young girl who is trying to prove to her family that she is responsible enough to get a dog, while also trying to help make sure things don't fall apart for her family. It was definitely a lighter novel, but it did have some really sad moments throughout.

Overall, I really enjoyed the plot and getting to know Vilonia and her friend, AC, but there were a few issues I had with the book. The first being the fact that she takes over her mom's job. It was j
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Being a fourth grader is never easy, but Vilonia Beebe, the plucky, softball-loving heroine of Kristin L. Gray’s delightful middle-grade novel, VILONIA BEEBE TAKES CHARGE, has it harder than most. Her mama’s been lost in a fog of sadness ever since Nana passed away forty-three days ago, and Vilonia would do anything to see her mama smile again—including undertaking a campaign to adopt a runt-of-the-litter dog (pets, Vilonia discovered, can help people overcome sadness). What follows is Vilonia’s ...more
Katherine Rowland
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fic-juvenile-ya
Sweet, quick read about a 4th grader taking on responsibility (and struggling). Far-fetched but lovely.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweet story!

Loved this sweet story! It was just the right amount of humor and recovery. It was good for the soul.
K.L. Hallam
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fourth-grader, Vilonia, Vi for short, started out in the world four times smaller than the largemouth bass hanging in her daddy’s shop. That was almost ten years ago.

Now that her mother has taken ill since Nana passed away, Vilonia must forge ahead. With a reputation for taking in destitute creatures, she spots a poster that might help her mother not feel depressed anymore.

"The most powerful antidepressant has 4 paws and a tail. 555-PETS."

And her favorite book, Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate
Corabel Shofner
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: swanky-17s

With this first line “[t]he day I was born I was four times smaller than the
trophy largemouth bass hanging in my daddy’s shop” Vilonia Beebe took charge of my heart and I would give it to her again.
I have a soft spot for heartfelt humor and brave characters who lean into the problems of this world. Vilonia’s grandmother has recently died which sent Vilonia’s mother into a deep depression. Vilonia takes over her mother’s job, which is writing obituaries for the local paper. (I must admit I was
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That was just precious. So full of voice and spunk and I loved it so much. My 6yo laughed out loud, especially at any mention of chickens. Highly recommended!
Darcy Miller
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just finished VILONIA BEEBE and wish I could crawl inside author Kristin Gray's head and live there! Vilonia is so real she practically jumps off the page - warm, funny, and, most of all, brave. You're going to love this one!! ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Vilonia's voice is perfect! She's funny, sweet and spunky. Her story is both heartbreaking and full of hope. ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you loved Ramona, you'll love Vilonia! ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
I wish I could hang out with Vilonia Beebe in real life. She is endlessly hilarious as a narrator, and endlessly resolved as a person. Now I'm an endlessly adoring fan. ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and the @kidlitexchange network for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own!!

I can't believe that this is a debut novel!!! Gray has created such a fun loving character and paired it with a really heartwarming story. I was hooked right from the start and saddened to see the pages slowly coming to an end. I'd love to see Vilonia in more books in the future!!

Vilonia Beebe is a spunky fourth grader who is out to prove that she can i
Laura Gardner
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this cute upper elementary read. I think it will be perfect for some kids, but it wasn't my favorite. Thx to @kidlitexchange for the copy to review. All opinions are my own.
Vilonia Beebe lives in a small town in Mississippi with her mom, dad and brother. Her mom is depressed since her own mother, Vilonia's Nana, died. Vilonia's mom won't get out of bed. Vilonia is picking up the slack, cleaning, cooking, etc...including writing her mama's obits for the local paper (she i
Kate Olson
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming and feisty, Vilonia is a breath of fresh air in the middle grade genre!

Thanks to the author for providing @kidlitexchange with a finished copy of this book for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

You can almost hear and feel the country twang in this sweet and sassy middle grade (mid-to-late elementary) novel about baseball-loving, obituary-writing and pet-dreaming Vilonia Beebee. Her determination to help her family during her mother's depression and prove that she is res
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vilonia was a star of her “under 10” softball team, an animal rescuer, a school library helper, a good friend, a sister, a daughter and a granddaughter. At least she was a granddaughter until 43 days earlier when her beloved grandma dropped dead. And since that time Vilonia’s mother has been hiding in her room with the blinds drawn and spending much of her day in her pajamas. So since that day Vilonia has added cooking, laundry and obituary writing (her mom’s job) to her list of chores. She is d ...more
Amber Webb
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kristin Gray does an amazing job in this middle grade, realistic fiction. Vilonia is a nine-year-old girl who wants nothing more than to have her very own dog. She does everything she can think of to show her family she is responsible. But as her family is going through a rough patch, they don't always see her intentions or good deeds, only what slips through the cracks. Vilonia's story will resonate with many children for a variety of reasons. The most relevant quote from the book, "That's the ...more
Beth Anderson
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Because of Winn-Dixie has a special place in my heart. Using that beloved novel as a springboard and reference point for the main character might be risky in a less skilled author’s hands, but Gray’s story hits the mark to stand alongside this classic. Like Because of Winn-Dixie and Clementine, the author’s outstanding narrative voice and endearing characters make Vilonia Beebe pure joy to read. This story is rich – the language, the plot, and priceless tidbits that flesh out the story with fun. ...more
Jenna Grodzicki
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vilonia Beebe is the kind of character that readers will fall in love with. She is full of spunk and a fighting spirit. Her main goal throughout the story is to prove she is responsible enough to get a dog. She believes a dog will help her mother heal from the Infinite Sadness she's been in since Vilonia's nana passed away. Her attempts at being responsible don't always turn out the way she planned, including an incident with some bottle rockets, but Vilonia's heart is always in the right place. ...more
Yvonne Ventresca
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
When her mom suffers from depression, Vilonia is determined to prove she’s responsible enough to get a dog with the hopes that a puppy will cheer her mother. Vi has a kind heart, but a knack for finding trouble, and the path to possible dog ownership is a rocky one. It includes chasing chickens, eulogizing the library’s goldfish, and secretly writing the town’s obituary column. A humorous story that’s at times poignant, Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge will have you rooting for Vi and her Great Pet Ca ...more
J.C. Davis
I fell in love with Vilonia and her family from page 1 of this wonderful kid's book. Through ups and many, many downs her determination and drive keep Vilonia going. I giggled my way through chapters and was wishing for my own Ava Claire (Vilonia's bestie), Ray Charles (world's cutest pug preemie), and tree house by the end. Love, love, love the voice of this book, the characters, just everything! A wonderful, fun read perfect for anyone who's ever tried their hardest to take charge of life, but ...more
Elle Evans
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-mg-read
Love this spunky character, Vilonia won my heart in the first pages. Kristin Gray writes with pitch-perfect small-town middle grade voice, it just keeps you flowing through the pages. Made me feel like a visit back to my own childhood, the story has that kind of classic feel to it. The plot is sweet and realistic, about her wanting a dog, and wanting to help her struggling mother at the same time, which are both super-relatable for kid readers.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first impression of this middle grade chapter book about a fourth grader who jumps back and forth between being a child and taking care of her mother's responsibilities was that it was too long for an elementary student to read independently. But the more I read about Vilonia's sad mother, her daddy and brother, the more I liked the heart and spirit of Vilonia and her devotion to family and best friend and neighbor's chickens. Her love of baseball and determination to keep things moving along ...more
Marissa Monteleone
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book because it is a book about a young girl who plays softball (like I used to) trying to live a normal life after her mom loses her job and is struggling. This is an inspirational book that sometimes you just have to push through the hard times. I really recommend this book to girls.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Vilonia’s adventures make this story a lively page turner. Despite her Mama experiencing “The Infinite Sadness”, Vilonia stays positive and focused on her goal of showing her family that she is responsible enough to have a dog. Fun and entertaining, this is the perfect story to share with my 4th graders.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
E-ARC from Edelweiss
This story has a southern feel like Turnage's Three Times Lucky books do for slightly older readers. I liked how Vilonia's plans hit roadblocks and yet she problem-solved and was not deterred.
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Kristin L. Gray is the author of the all-new The Amelia Six: An Amelia Earhart Mystery and Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book, and the picture book Koala Is Not A Bear. She lives in Arkansas with her family, two dogs, one cat, and pet lizard. Her forthcoming picture book, Rover Throws A Party, combines two of her favorite things: outer space and cake. Visit her online a ...more

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