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“A heartfelt read filled with nuanced characters; recommended for those seeking a fast-paced adventure with a very human story.” —School Library Journal

“A humorous, poignant, realistic debut story.” —Kirkus Reviews

Vilonia is determined to prove she’s responsible enough to care for a dog in this “sensitive and uplifting coming-of-age” (Publishers Weekly) novel.

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 Mama, who’s been lost in one, big sadness fog for forty-three days—ever since Nana died. But Vilonia read that pets can help with sadness. Now all she has to do is keep the library goldfish alive over spring break, stop bringing stray animals home, and help Mama not get fired from her job. And she’s got to do all of it before the Catfish Festival. Easy as pie, right?

Tremendous voice, humor, and heart make this debut novel utterly lovable.

Brooke Robinson Photography

Kristin L. Gray is the author of Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge, which Publishers Weekly called a “sensitive and uplifting coming-of-age journey.” Booklist called her latest, The Amelia Six, “a wonderful tribute to [Amelia Earhart] who herself came to embody mystery.” Kristin is also the author of two picture books: Koala Is Not a Bear (illustrated by Rachel McAlister) and Rover Throws a Party (illustrated by Scott Magoon). She lives in northwest Arkansas. Visit her online at KristinLGray.com.

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • Horned Toad Tales List (TX)

More books from this author: Kristin L. Gray