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Pictures of Hollis Woods Paperback – May 11, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Giff (Lily s Crossing; All the Way Home) again introduces a carefully delineated and sympathetic heroine in this quiet contemporary novel. Artistically talented Hollis Woods, age 12, has made a habit of running away from foster homes, but she s found a place on Long Island where she wants to stay for a while. She immediately bonds with Josie, her new guardian, who is a slightly eccentric, retired art teacher. Yet Hollis is far from content. She worries about Josie s increasing forgetfulness, and she sorely misses her last foster family, the Regans, whom she left under tense circumstances that are only gradually made clear. Giff intersperses tender scenes demonstrating Hollis s growing affection for Josie with memories of the Regans, whose images Hollis preserves in her sketchbook. Pictures of motherly Izzy Regan, her architect husband and their mischievous yet compassionate son, Steven, sensitively express the young artist s conception of a perfect family. As readers become intimately acquainted with Hollis, they will come to understand her fears, regrets and longings, and will root for her as she pursues her dream of finding a home where she belongs. Ages 8-13.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-Abandoned at birth, Hollis Woods has lived in about a half dozen homes and has always wished for a family. A foster caretaker describes her as "a mountain of trouble." When Josie Cahill, a retired art teacher, takes the 12-year-old into her home on Long Island, NY, the two bond almost immediately. Hollis draws pictures with colored pencils and Josie carves branches into people. However, it soon becomes clear that Josie has trouble remembering things, and Hollis becomes the caregiver. When she stops attending school, a social worker comes by to investigate. Flashbacks slowly illuminate Hollis's life with one family who had hoped to adopt her and why this didn't happen. Giff masterfully weaves these two strands together in a surprising and satisfying ending. Strong characterization and a solid sense of place are the strengths of this heartfelt story that will appeal to fans of Sharon Creech's Ruby Holler (2002), Katherine Paterson's The Great Gilly Hopkins (1978, both HarperCollins), and Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Gib Rides Home (Delacorte, 1998).
Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; DGS REP edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440415780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439692397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Newbery Honor books, Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods. She lives in Trumbull, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
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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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on August 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on October 3, 2002
Format: Library Binding
"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...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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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