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Willowood Hardcover – March 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Eleven-year-old Lily is not happy when her single mother decides to move them from a small town to a city. Her mother's long hours at her new job and a class bully don't help. But Lily has a gecko that she loves, and her neighbor and sitter, Mrs. Hiller, introduces her to the owner of a pet store, Bernard, and his adult son, Nate, who has Down syndrome. The characters, including Lily's new friend, Gina, the class nerd, are fully realized individuals. Nate is especially well drawn, and he becomes a true friend to Lily. As the story develops, she begins to understand that life is not always fair. With its finely tuned plot and poetic language, this novel compares well with Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick, 2000) in character development and plot. Children will enjoy the story of Lily's first few months in the big city.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
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From Booklist

When Mom accepts a new job in Riverside Heights, 10-year-old Lily must cope with living in a bigger city, missing her best friend, and a bully at her new school. She accepts a part-time job at a neighborhood pet store where she meets Nate, an adult with Down syndrome who helps her to rescue three iguana eggs. When Lily tries to do something nice for Nate, he misunderstands, and his unleashed temper results in terrible consequences. The author of Hershey Herself and The Patron Saint of Butterflies (both 2008) here offers middle-grade readers a thoughtful look at friendship and family. Lily is curious about her father and why he left when she was a baby; Nate mistakenly feels responsible for his mother's death; and bully Amanda has everything money can buy but spends most of her time in the care of a housekeeper instead of her parents. Galante offers no quick fixes, but these strong characters come to accept their circumstances and move forward, more secure with the imperfect families they have. Grades 3-6. --Kay Weisman

Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; 1 edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416980229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416980223
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,247,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Genie E. Enders on June 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading books this summer about 11-year-old girls. Why am I doing this? Because "Hefty Holly" (the heroine of my Don't Call Me Hefty Holly) is eleven.
Lily has moved to a new place and a new town and she's not happy. She's missing her best friend, Baily,and their special secret outdoor meeting place. Willowood. It's a woodsy, leafy, mysterious and special. There'll never be another place like it or another friend like Baily.
Lily's single mom has to work long hours at her new job, so their new neighbor, Mrs. Hiller, who's as kind and grandmotherly as she can be, looks after our heroine but can't take the place of Lily's mother. Riverside Heights, Lily's new school,is a downer too. The kids are mean to her, especially the rich, blond Amanda, who's the fifth grade class leader. The only girl who's nice to Lily is Gina--but kids make fun of her too! Of course Amanda's the leader in the bad treatment of both girls.
Finally,something good happens! Mrs. Hiller's friend,Bernard, who owns the Pet Palace,offers Lily an after-school job! The Pet Palace, with its huge selection of lizards,is the perfect place for her--she's lizard fan. Then Lily meets Bernard's grown son, Nate--who makes her nervous because he has Down Syndrome.
Does Lily and Nate ever become friends? Does Gina and Lily become friends? Does Amanda ever stop being a "mean girl"?
And does Lily ever find a new Willowood? Don't Call Me Hefty Holly
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By skate4HIM on April 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is so good! I had to do summer reading last year, and I picked this book along with some others. I really suggest you read this book. It made me cry. This is a really good story about a young girl, Lilly, and her new best friend, Nate, who happens to be autistic. Lilly soon finds out that Nate's dad owns a pet shop, and that his wife died. Nate is so upset about his mom dying, and Lilly can relate to that because her parents got divorced. As I said, I seriously suggest this book to read. Very, very good book. I just have to rate it 5 stars. =]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought that the book was more than perfect and I've already read it twice an I still love it!
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