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Petty Crimes Hardcover – May 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152016589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152016586
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sharply honed collection of stories, Mexican American children on the brink of adolescence are testing the waters, trying to find their place in a world ruled by gangs and "marked with graffiti, boom boxes, lean dogs behind fences...." Some characters (La G?era, a shoplifter, and Mario, a scam artist) are already on their way to becoming juvenile delinquents. Others have chosen a straighter path. Most, however, are caught somewhere in the middle, swimming against a current of violence. Norma finds it much harder than she imagined to protect a doll put under her care for a social studies experiment. Rudy learns the meaning of defeat during a boxing match against a boy much smaller than himself. With a rare mix of compassion and irony, Soto (Buried Onions) crystallizes moments signifying the loss of innocence. His pithy last liners ("The vatos locos walked slowly away, their heads directed toward the future, and their bodies already half dressed for their funerals") will stop readers in their tracks, leaving them to digest the meaning of his words and ponder the fates of his protagonists. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 UpAA colorful potpourri of 10 ironic short stories. Filled with both humor and sadness, these slice-of-life narratives portray both self-reflective and self-involved teen characters who learn valuable life lessons from encounters with family, friends, and antagonists. Mario-a bitter, streetwise teenager-is obsessed with scamming everyone he meets until he gets some of his own medicine thrown back at him. Fourteen-year old Alma tries to cope with her mother's slow and painful death from cancer by buying back all of the woman's clothes that her grief-stricken father gave to the Salvation Army. Rudy, 17, boxes to prove himself and impress a pretty girl whom he later discovers is the sister of his experienced boxing opponent. Rich in simile and metaphor and sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases that can be understood from context, these simply told memorable stories about Hispanic teens resonate with realism because they deal with concerns most young people haveA"Who am I?" and "Am I doing the right thing?"AJack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Born in Fresno, California to Mexican American parents, Gary Soto learned the hard work ethic through his share of chores, including mowing lawns, picking grapes, painting house numbers on street curbs, and washing cars. His hard work paid off at California State University at Fresno, from which he graduated with an English degree, and later at the University of California at Irvine, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.Gary Soto is an acclaimed poet, essayist, and fiction writer. The awards for this multi-talented author are many, ranging from the U.S. Award for International Poetry Forum in 1977 for his first published book of poetry, The Elements of San Joaquin, to a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award in 1985 for Living Up the Street, his first published work of prose recollections. His short story collection Baseball in April, was named an American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults. In 1993 Gary Soto received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video for Pool Party, and in 1995 he was nominated for a National Book Award.His other credits include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council. Gary Soto is also one of the youngest poets to appear in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Several of his books have been translated into French, Spanish and Italian.Too Many Tamales was named a Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choices of 1993. Hazel Rochman of Booklist said, "Gary Soto is an accomplished poet and adult writer, and his children's stories are widely popular. His first entry into the picture book genre is a joyful success."When he is not writing, Mr. Soto serves as a volunteer English teacher at his church. He also enjoys eating at new restaurants, which he does often with his wife, Carolyn, and their daughter Mariko. Other members of the Soto household include their two cats, Corky and Sharkie. The Soto family resides in Berkeley, California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "miezee" on February 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of short stories about Mexican-American teens in California, but the themes and the things they do could apply to anyone. Reading this book, you watch their transition into adulthood, the loss of innocence and the pain that comes with it. The stories are all very different. There is the story of a girl who tries to buy back all the clothes of her mother's her father gave away when her mother died. There is the story of a hardworking, honest boy, and his cousin, who flees when the going gets rough, but comes back for the glory. But all the stories weave a complicated picture that will leave you sighing wistfully at the end.
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Format: Paperback
Gary Soto always delivers stories with sympathetic characters and believable situations that are both hilarious and heartbreaking. This compilation of stories is no exception. Highly recommended.
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