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Taking Care of Terrific Paperback – May 1, 1984


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Touching, inventive, believable, and hilarious . . . with a solid base of sharp characterization and some pithy commentary on our society." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (May 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440484944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440484943
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,387,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com

author interview
A CONVERSATION WITH LOIS LOWRY ABOUT THE GIVER

Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.

Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?

A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.

I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.

Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?

A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.

Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?

A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.

Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?

A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.

Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?

A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#7 in Books > Teens
#100 in Books
#7 in Books > Teens
#100 in Books

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Blevins on April 8, 2003
Format: School & Library Binding
The book I read was Taking Care of Terrific and the Author is Lois Lowry. This book is a wonderful book to read. It all starts out with a 14 year old girl named Enid. Enid is a wonderful girl who has a mother, father and a housekeeper, Mrs. Kolodny. Mrs. Kolodny gave Enid a message about babysitting for the Cameron's family. Enid went to the Cameron Family and the boy she had to look after was Joshua but his nickname is Tom Terrific. So Enid and Tom Terrific go to the Public Garden together and when they get their they meet a guy named Hawk. Hawk plays the saxophone. Also in the Public Garden are bag ladies. These bag ladies are homeless people who have no where to go. Enid asked Hawk why the bag ladies were so sad. They then started a discussion about why the bag ladies are upset and Hawk said probably because they had no root beer popsicles. So right then Enid had an idea to go on strike for rootbeer popsicles and that is what at Enid and Tom sit in the Public garden and draw pictures together of trees. Also Enid broke most of the rules that Joshua's mom made for him to follow. Enid also taught Joshua how to make prank phone calls. The next time Enid babysat she took Tom Terrific to the Public Park, Hawk was there too. They wondered if the bag ladies would like to ride on the swan boats that floated in the lake in the middle of the Public Garden. Hawk asked all the bag ladies if they would like to have a ride on the swan boats and they all said yes. My friend Seth Sandroff helped us with it. We drew out our plan and got all the bag ladies loaded up into swan boats and gave them a ride. They showed the homeless all a great time. I liked this book because it was entertaining. I liked the fact that Enid was interested in making people happy and having them experience new things. I liked that she took a chance of getting into trouble to make a little boys life brighter and more exciting. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
At age 24, I often find myself thinking back about the books I read and loved as a child. I could never remember the title of one of my favorites, a story of a babysitter who took her charge to the Boston Common and eventually hijacked the swan boats in the park lagoon. After at least two years of asking my peers if they remembered that book (most of them did not) I decided to hunt it down with the only keyword I remembered from the title -- Terrific -- and to my delight I found it! That the book has kept with me this long proves what a great read it really is. A must for city children, but also for midwestern kids like myself looking for a window to an entirely different world.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is the story of a girl named Enid, who is just like a regualr kid the way kids actually are, and not the way that they are usually portrayed by adults. She and her babysitting charge (he wants ot be called Terrific) go everyday to the park and meet and befriend a variety of real life people. The characters, setting, and situation are just like real life, but not so ordinary that it gets boring. Many ages would like this book, but I think the reader will appreciate it more if they are older (around 9 or 10) and have a larger view and better understanding of the way life is for different kinds of people.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By puff on March 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
If only Taking Care of Terrific would come back in print! It was one of my favorite books when I was about 12. I could relate to Enid's dislike for her name and her love of baby-sitting, and drawing. I received it as a gift at 9, but couldn't get into it. I wasn't allowed to babysit and didn't understand a lot of the vocabulary. I also was confused as to why a 14 year old girl would be so disobedient to her folks and her employer. Her parent's obvious disinterest in her was disturbing to me. However, it was nice to see her parents seemed to pay more attention to her at the end. I think a kid should be atleast 11 before reading this book. About once a year I still read this book. I still want to go to Boston and ride the swan boats because of this book's incredible discription of it. The subject of homelessness is compassionately dealt with. Enid just wants to recieve and give love. Her parents and her friends's competitive, snooty parents were blind to that. Kids need love and acceptance more than rules and regulations.
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By JJM on December 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lois Lowry has written quite a few wonderful books, and this one is near the top of the list for me. I read it as an adult and found it entertaining, endearing, with a touch of comedy. I bought the book for my 10-year-old granddaughter and am waiting for her report. She has quite a bit of assigned reading at school and likes books with a bit of humor, so I'm certain that she will enjoy the story and the likeable characters.
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