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Protecting Marie Hardcover – May 31, 1995

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: GreenWilBk; 1st edition (May 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688139582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688139582
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,542,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

At the cusp of adolescence, 12-year-old Fanny Swann has reached a crisis point in her relationship with her artist-father Henry. Most recently, there was the betrayal. After years and years of having his daughter beg for a dog, Henry finally gives her a puppy. But when the precious pup starts chewing furniture and making puddles in the studio, Henry insists that the culprit be given away. But even before the betrayal there had been tension between Fanny and Henry. His need for orderliness and solitude was always in opposition to Fanny's need for companionship and clutter.

Months later, on Henry's 60th birthday, he brings his daughter a trained 3-year-old dog named Dinner. The replacement dog does not mend the broken trust. Rather, it underscores just how shattered Fanny's trust truly is. Kevin Henkes is sympathetic to the struggles of an aging, uninspired artist as well as the ache of a young girl who longs to believe in her father, but is afraid to take another leap of faith. When the source of their rift--Fanny's need for a dog--becomes the source of her father's inspiration, Henkes does not settle on a pat ending. Instead, he dares to enter the deeper complexities of the father-daughter relationship, exposing young adult readers to the emotional vulnerability of both parents and their children. School Library Journal Best Book, Publishers Weekly Best Book. (Ages 12 and older) --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

A girl struggles to win the acceptance of her father, an aging artist; in a starred and boxed review, PW said that Henkes "affirms the resiliency of the creative spirit and the transcending power of love." Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels--one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit him online at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Snider on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I never really thought I would get into this book. I just nonchalantly picked it up off of the bookshelf in the library. I began to read it. I was pulled in by the very real display of emotion, and the dialog was also very realistic. The characters were described so well, I could almost see them. The story line was also something that actually does happen. Dogs do get taken away because of destructive habits. As I read the story, It felt like it was really winter outside, and I imagined myself sitting in front of a warm fireplace, listening to it crackle, and drinking hot chocolate. Just like Fanny. I read the whole book in less than a day. I couldn't disconnect myself from it. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alison Dellenbaugh on January 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Not being a big fan of "dog stories," I picked this book up from the library only because I admire Kevin Henkes' writing. I didn't even open it until the evening before it was due. As it turned out, I was hooked from the first paragraph and stayed up until midnight to read the whole thing. I was surprised how thoroughly the book brought me into into this 12-year-old girl's head and life, and how stirringly it depicted Fanny's strained relationship with her father. Every detail seemed perfect. The dogs in the story are terribly important to Fanny, and are important measures of her relationship with her father, but the problems in the relationship go deeper than that, and the new dog isn't a cure-all for the problems. I expected a simple story about a girl wanting a dog, but this book delivered much more. I had to return the book to the library, but I plan to buy a copy to keep.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wayne S. Walker on February 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
Twelve-year-old Fanny Swann lives in Madison, WI, with her sixty-year-old father, Henry Swann, a university art professor and rather temperamental painter, and her forty-year-old mother, Ellen Cross, a book designer at the University of Wisconsin Press. All her life, Fanny has wanted a dog of her own. For a short while, she had a black puppy named Nellie, but her father couldn’t paint with all the chaos in his neat, ordered home, so he made Fanny give her away. She has never been able to forgive him for that. After refusing at the last minute to come to the sixtieth birthday party that Ellen and Fanny had planned for him, Henry returns with a new, older dog named Dinner. But can Fanny trust him? Should she not get too attached, in case this one is taken from her as well? But how can she keep from falling in love with the perfect dog?

Kevin Henkes has written some cute books for little children, such as A Weekend with Wendell and Owen. However, his books for older readers have a reputation for being somewhat rough and raw. He won a Newbery Honor Award in 2004 for Olive's Ocean, about a school girl’s reaction to the death of a classmate. I have never read it, but Kathy Davis of Home School Buzz, a homeschool mom did, and she said, “There is no truly spiritual thought-provoking questions posed; no looking towards God for answers, or wonder of what truly lies beyond one’s physical death. Just a lot of general ‘what if’ questions. The content of this book may be too heavy…and the cast of worldly characters, language, and situations did not exactly offer wholesome reading material.” Protecting Marie seems to tend in that same direction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the book, Protecting Marie, Fanny is a girl who loves dogs. When she gets her first dog, she immediately falls in love with him. Unfortunately, the dog soon gets out of control! His ripping of the furniture and making a mess finally set Fanny's father to give him away. Ever since, Fanny has looked at her father in a different way. When he didn't show up for him own 50th birthday party, Fanny was convinced he wasn't returning. Her mother kept positive about the situation and decorated the house for Christmas with Fanny. To Fanny's surprise, when her father came home, he brought the best gift Fanny could ever hope for. As she came downstairs, she saw a face staring back at her, a new dog! Although Fanny tried not to, she fell in love with her dog, Dinner, in every way. If even Fanny's father loved Dinner, then why is Dinner missing when Fanny comes home from school? When Fanny finds a note saying her father brought Dinner to their friend who had been admiring the dog, Fanny could only think of one conclusion, Dinner is gone...or is he?

I really enjoyed Protecting Marie!! It tells a story about a girl and her father, and the importance of friendship. This book keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. I was shocked when I found that Dinner was missing! The ending is very climatic and satisfying. I really liked this book and would definitely recommend this book to fathers, daughters, dog lovers, or anyone looking for a great realistic fiction story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Li on March 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Protecting Marie
By: Kevin Henkes
Reviewed by: Catherine Li
Period: 6
This book talks about the life of a 12-year-old girl whose name is Fanny. Her farther is an artist and is very hard to live with. His business is not going too well and he gets upset easily, particularly when he is not satisfied with his work. Fanny has always loved dogs, one night when her dad was not able to show up for his 60-year-old birthday party he brought back a Labrador puppy. However, her dad needs concentration for his work, and when the puppy began breaking things and fooling around at the house, he sent the puppy away to someone. Fanny is heart broken and misdirected her anger, frustration, and emotional outrage. One night Fanny's father comes home with another dog named Dinner. But Fanny is afraid, she worries that Dinner would ruin her dad's concentration, and he would send her away too. Soon, her father began using Dinner as the main model in his painting. Fanny understood then, that her father would never send anything away that she loves.
I found this book touching in some ways. This book is very straightforward and easy to understand. It isn't a very exciting book, but it has good writings and is a worthy book to read. Though, I think the title doesn't exactly match the meaning of the story. For instance, "Her mouth was a pouty circle, and short, slitty lines served as eyes and eyelashes."
The sentences are short and simple to read. This book isn't very descriptive nor complex. The sentences are also short, but it makes perfect sense. "The petals were so dark they looked black at the innermost whorl." It is in a very good writing, especially in a drama type of book.
I enjoyed reading this book.
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