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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story of a Wonderful Character
Pictures of Hollis Woods is the very moving story of an abandoned girl who has difficulty fitting into foster homes and is constantly getting in trouble for running away. What we get in this novel are two narratives: one in the present as Hollis tries to fit in with Josie, an older woman slowing succumbing to dementia; and one in the form of flashbacks told through...
Published on August 29, 2003 by Timothy Haugh

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
Pictures of Hollis Woods was written by Patricia Reilly Giff. This novel is about a young girl trying to find a foster home that she likes. So far all the families she has been with she's ran away from because she says that she doesn't fit in. Then one day, her social worker brought her to a lady named Josie. At first Hollis was nervous like she always is, but Josie...
Published on April 1, 2004


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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story of a Wonderful Character, August 29, 2003
By 
Timothy Haugh (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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Pictures of Hollis Woods is the very moving story of an abandoned girl who has difficulty fitting into foster homes and is constantly getting in trouble for running away. What we get in this novel are two narratives: one in the present as Hollis tries to fit in with Josie, an older woman slowing succumbing to dementia; and one in the form of flashbacks told through description of pictures Hollis has drawn which tells the story of the previous summer when Hollis thought she had finally found a home. Slowly, these two stories are drawn together as Hollis tries to protect herself and Josie as well as come to terms with the events of the previous summer.
All in all, Ms. Giff has written a wonderful novel. The switching between the two plots in handled well and Hollis is a beautifully drawn character. She is difficult and introverted, but she is an artist and is ultimately able to overcome her defensiveness and become part of a family--even an extended family. I would highly recommend this novel to young and old alike.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures of Hollis Woods- " a book that you never want to put down", April 30, 2007
A Kid's Review
Pictures of Hollis Woods is a book about inspiration, hope, and finding out who you are as a person, and what place in this world is meant for you.

Hollis Woods is a kind, caring, and artistic eleven year old orphan who is trying to figure out who she is. At the same time, Hollis is trying to find a stable family, maybe a family who she can picture growing up with.

This book takes place in a house in Upstate, New York, in the woods and countryside, in the 1980's. It also takes place in Long Island, New York at a small house in the suburbs. Hollis has been in and out of many foster homes, and finally finds a family that wants to take her in and have her become their daughter and sister. Without hesitation, Hollis agrees. Later in the story, a tragic event happens, leaving Hollis scared and unsure of what she wants and what to do next. As a result she decides she wants out of her new family, the Regan's, and she runs away. After running away, the social workers find her, and relocate her to live with an elderly woman named Josie. From the very first friendly hug Josie gave Hollis, Hollis knew she would love living with Josie. They have a grand time living together until a problem occurs, leaving Hollis with no other choice but to run away and take Josie with her. But what happens when social workers and Hollis' past catch up to her? Find out by reading this book.

This book is an easy but touching read. The first twenty pages are slow, but it soon speeds up. This book is slightly confusing at first, because every chapter alternates, from present to past, using Hollis' flashbacks. A word of advice to people who are going to read this book: Notice that the writing in italics are her flashbacks, and the regular print is the present. Parts of this book are slightly cheesy and unrealistic, but all in all, this is a very moving book, and I would recommend it to anyone in search of a short, well done, and touching read.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS, October 3, 2002
By 
"This picture has a dollop of peanut butter on one edge, a smear of grape jelly on the other, and an X across the whole thing. I cut it out of a magazine for homework when I was six years old. 'Look for words that begin with W,' my teacher, Mrs. Evans, had said.
"She was the one who marked in the X, spoiling my picture. She pointed. ' This is a picture of a family, Hollis. A mother, M, a father, F, a brother, B, a sister, S. They're standing in front of their house, H. I don't see one W word here, young lady.'
"I opened my mouth to say: How about W for wish, or W for want, or W for 'Wouldn't it be loverly,' like the song the music teacher had taught us?
"But Mrs. Evans was at the next table by that time, shushing me over her shoulder."
PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS is one of this year's most beautiful and most well-crafted tales. With the piles of new books I have waiting for me to read, it is rare for me to read a book twice, no less twice in successive days. But that's how strongly this one has affected me.
"...'Drawing is what you see of the world, truly see.'
" 'Yes, maybe,' I said, not sure what she meant.
" 'And sometimes what you see is so deep in your head you're not even sure of what you're seeing. But when it's down there on paper, and you look at it, really look, you'll see the way things are...' "
Hollis Woods is an artistic foster child whose troubled past has been marked by a succession of stops:
"There was the green house where the door didn't quite close; the wind blew in and up the stairs, rattling the window panes. The white house: crumbs on the table, kids fighting over a bag of Wonder bread. The yellow house: sooty, a long-haired woman with braids, no rugs on the stairs, the loud sound of feet going up and down..."
But Hollis Woods dreams of having a family. And she nearly got her wish thanks to the Regans--the Old Man, Izzie, and Steven--who had taken her in for a summer in Upstate New York.
Then something destroyed that perfect picture, and Hollis, who has now been placed in the home of the beautiful, old artist, Josie Cahill, is trying to come to terms with what happened last summer...and trying to deal with the secret of why Josie might have to be taken away from her, too.
"I frowned. 'Look at a picture one way and you'll see one thing,' I said. 'Look again and you might see something else. That's what the Old Man...' I shook my head. 'A friend of mine said that once.'
" 'Ah, yes,' Beatrice said, sketching in an eye, bushy eyebrows, sharp lashes as she spoke. 'But that's the world, isn't it? You have to keep looking to find the truth.' "
PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS is a poignant story of family and how those without traditional families frequently fall prey to The System. It includes the mystery about the summer's tragedy, and a love story about water. The author, who grew up around the corner from my Dad's family in Queens and not far from the community of Hollis Woods, sketches vivid landscapes of the woods and the water--the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware River. Both simple and deceptively complex, this book could be taught to high school students as well as older grade school kids.
Patricia Reilly Giff also fills her canvas with some of the most memorable people you'll ever meet, and who you'll certainly want to stay in touch with long after finishing the book. In fact, I'm not near ready to put this book down--it promises to be my first Lunchtime Read Aloud, once school resumes in September.
Richie Partington
[...]
BudNotBuddy@aol.com
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, October 28, 2002
By 
Kari DeLano (Defiance, OH United States) - See all my reviews
As a future teacher I am looking for books that will keep students interested, yet still give them something good to read. This book is just that kind of book. It evokes an emotion in the reader that is difficult to understand. This is the kind of book that can also spark any lesson plan and add all sorts of activities to the agenda.
With the kind of character and plot development that keeps the reader on the edge of your seat throughout the book, it will be a sure hit to readers of all ages and reading levels.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Home For Hollis, May 5, 2003
A Kid's Review
Hollis Woods is a very touching book. It�s about a 12-year-old girl who was abandoned in the forest of Hollis Woods, which is how she got her name. Hollis searches from place to place looking for a home that suits her needs, dreams, and wants. Will she ever find her wonderful humble home�?
We really enjoyed reading Pictures of Hollis Woods. It is one of the best and most touching books we have ever read. We really liked this book because it kept us guessing, thinking, and predicting throughout the whole time. We think this book fits all of the needs for a great book. We recommend this book to everyone!!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful,heartwarming,tearjerking,book!!, January 19, 2005
A Kid's Review
Picutures of Hollis Woods is a heart warming book. It is sad at some points, but very funny at others! This book is about Hollis Woods, a 12 year old orphan. Hollis has been to a number of foster homes,ever since she was abanded at Hollis Woods, the town. When she finally finds a family(the Reagens)that loves her, and she loves them too, a tragic accident happeneds,that causes Hollis to run away. Now she thinks that her finding a family like the Reagens is hopeless, but then she goes to Josie's house.Josie is a elder lady that is losing her memory,her and Hollis are alot alike. For example Hollies is a wonderful artist, and Josie is a retired art teacher, but there are alot of problems also, like Josie doesn't make Hollis go to school, and lots of other reasons for Hollis to be taken away. So one day Hollis decides that it isn' t safe and the social worker is going to take Hollis soon. What should she do? Can she ever go back to the Reagens? Read this book to find out! It won't be a waste of time!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures of Hollis Woods, April 27, 2007
A Kid's Review
Pictures of Hollis Woods

Hollis Woods is a young 12-year-old girl who had been shuffled around to different foster homes all of her life. Although Hollis has been to many different families and homes she still is a out-going, loving, and artistic girl.

In the beginning of Pictures of Hollis Woods it takes place in a cottage in the woods, Later, Hollis moves to the mountains with her old family. The setting was very helpful in this book. Hollis was shuffled to so many foster homes that you needed the setting to anchor you to the story. The story is set in a modern time. Hollis Woods finds herself stuck between foster homes until she finally finds a home where she is comfortable; Hollis Woods decides to settle with Josie an old and retired artist. At the beginning of the story, we learn that her parents have abandoned Hollis. Her main problem is to find a home that fits her and a family that fits her personality.

Pictures of Hollis Woods is all about love and to keep hope alive. Pictures of Hollis Woods is a very well plotted book. It has great and detailed story lines, with wonderful characters. This book can also be very confusing because of all the flashbacks she has throughout the book. Even though this book can be confusing stick with it, it is worth reading. Otherwise it was great!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step down, Gilly Hopkins, December 4, 2003
A book so sad I could not but cry. The book has a couple similarities to "The Great Gilly Hopkins", in terms of plot and genre. In both cases you have a female orphan with a mind of her own who really just wants to be loved. Hollis Woods was a well thought out character and the author had a strong sense of how a kid feels when they've been abandoned regularly. She also understood the guilt kids feel about what they've done. It is completely believable that Hollis wouldn't want to return to the Regans (the loving family to whom she briefly belongs) after believing she got Steven (their son) nearly killed and is destroying the family's relationships. She thinks she's poison to those she loves. I haven't cried at the end of a book in a long time, but I sobbed (SOBBED I TELLS YE) with this one. The form is a little difficult to get a handle on, initially. I don't think this book would read aloud very well in a classroom situation. Reading one chapter one day and another chapter the next would only confuse the kids and they would be unable to understand what happens when. Once you understand what the author is doing, however, the book should be easy to get through. Not for beginning readers, just the same.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A portrait of an orphan..., January 29, 2003
By 
Ruhama Kordatzky "librariane" (Burlington, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Hollis Woods is an artist. She's only 11, but she has the gift to draw magnificent works of art. What Hollis doesn't have is a family--she was left on a corner when she was just a baby, and now she bounces from home to home, unable to stay for a long period of time. Once she realizes she's had enough of one foster family, or woman, she packs up her things and runs away for a few days. This pattern continues until she goes to stay with the Reagan family one summer. Suddenly she finds the family she's always dreamed about, and they are excited to adopt her. But Hollis can't quite accept that they truly want her, especially after she causes an accident, so she runs away again.
Giff has created a marvelous book of characters--the social worker, for example, that keeps placing Hollis is a despicable character. You feel it from the start when she spills mustard on herself, though I didn't realize you're supposed to think of her this way until half way through the book, when she spills coffee on herself. Hollis grows a bit through the book, enough to be realistic. The Reagan family is a good family, but not without their struggles. The format is not anything new--the current story is peppered with flashbacks, but it works for this tale. The story itself is plausible, even heartwarming (I was pleased to see a happy ending), and I believe it is the characterization that pushed it up to win a Newbery Honor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of "Pictures of Hollis Woods", June 8, 2004
A Kid's Review
This book is a pretty good book. The two main characters are Hollis Woods, a twelve-year-old foster girl who was abandoned at the age of one hour, and Josie, a retired art teacher. It begins with a description with a picture entitled "X" and there are descriptions of other pictures every one or two chapters. In the story Hollis runs away from Josie to her last family that almost adopted her. Then she realizes she needs Josie and Josie needs her.
This book was pretty good, but had some rough spots, so I took one star away. I read this books first when I was ten, and it got me interested.
The book is for ages 9-12.
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Pictures of Hollis Woods
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
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