Synopses & Reviews
10th Anniversary Edition Louis Sachar received great recognition for his groundbreaking story of Stanley Yelnats - a boy with a history of bad luck. As School Library Journal predicted in their starred review of the book when it was first published, “Kids will love Holes.” A decade later, the book is still quenching young readers thirst for a gripping story about a far-reaching family curse, friendship, adventure, endurance, and, finally, a generous helping of good karma. Celebrate with this special 10th Anniversary Edition, which includes portraits of the author as a little brother (by his big brother), as a husband (by his wife), and as a father (by his daughter), along with photos and Louis Sachars 1999 Newbery acceptance speech. Vladimir Radunsky, who created the original iconoclastic cover illustration, has made new art from the familiar images. Wrapped in an acetate jacket, this edition is an appealing package that will be equally welcome in public, school, or home libraries. Holes is a 1998 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the 1999 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 1999 Newbery Medal.
"[W]ry and loopy....[A] dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism. Readers (especially boys) will likely delight in the larger-than-life (truly Texas-style) manner in which Sachar fills in all the holes, as he ties together seemingly disparate story threads to dispel ghosts from the past and give everyone their just deserts." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure." Kirkus Reviews
"This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking, with a bit of a folklore thrown in for good measure." Mary Ann Capan, VOYA
"Stanley Yelnats IV has been wrongly accused of stealing a famous baseball player's valued sneakers and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention home where the boys dig holes, five feet deep by five feet across, in the miserable Texas heat. It's just one more piece of bad luck that's befallen Stanley's family for generations...There is no question, kids will love Holes." --Starred, School Library Journal
“Vladimir Radunsky created the artwork for the 1998 hardcover, and another of his striking paintings adorns Farrar, Straus and Girouxs 10th-anniversary edition . . . Wrapped in an acetate jacket, the whole package has a crisp, sparkling appeal. Kid-friendly bonus materials include lighthearted personal perspectives written by Sachars older brother, daughter, and wife; his Newbery acceptance speech; and several black-and-white photos, mostly taken on the movie set.” —SLJs Extra Helping"Stanley Yelnats IV has been wrongly accused of stealing a famous baseball player's valued sneakers and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention home where the boys dig holes, five feet deep by five feet across, in the miserable Texas heat. It's just one more piece of bad luck that's befallen Stanley's family for generations...There is no question, kids will love Holes." —Starred, School Library Journal
Praise for P.K. PINKERTON AND THE PETRIFIED MAN:
STARRED REVIEW FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“Quick-on-the-draw funny follow-up . . .A warm, wise, wild and woolly second offering…”
STARRED REVIEW FROM BOOKLIST:
“This entertaining, absorbing sequel will hook readers from the get-go, and Lawrence sets up intriguing ambiguities and mysteries for P.K.s sure-to-be-anticipated next adventure.”
Praise for P.K. PINKERTON AND THE DEADLY DESPERADOS:
Amazon Best Book 2012
Kirkus Best Book 2012
Indie Next Pick
Booklist Top 10 Youth Crime Fiction
Booklist Top 10 Youth Western
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:
“Curious, clever, and very funny…P.K.'s journey is very much a metaphor for an autistic experience. Lawrence powerfully conveys both the difficulties of living with autism and the autistic mind's distinctive strengths. Any child who's felt like a 'Misfit' or 'Freak of Nature' as P.K. does will identify with his despair and cheer him.”
STARRED REVIEW FROM BOOKLIST:
“A winning blend of Wild West and classic detective lore, this first book in the Western Mysteries series is a fast-paced, engrossing read, from beginning to end.”
STARRED REVIEW FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“[F]ast-paced and deadpan-funny Wild West adventure … A rich vein of wisdom runs through this highly entertaining, swashbuckling series debut.”
FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“[E]nergetic, vividly written series opener… this agile story should keep readers attention from first page to last.”
FROM THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDRENS BOOKS:
“Wild chases, wilder disguises, goofy humor, wordplay, a delightfully gruesome end for Whittlin Walt, and a strong hint of episodes to come all provide a passel of good readin.”
FROM HORN BOOK:
“[A] bang-up series starter, …[this] strongly voiced account succeeds as a rousing adventure that promises more action in another installment just around the corner.”
“[Q]uick paced and engaging, moving from one escapade to the next without ever slowing down.”
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment and redemption.
A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment
Stanley Yelnat's family has a history of bad luck, so he isn't too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys' juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake - it has been dry for over a hundred years - and it's hardly a camp. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin' Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley's great-great-grandfather by a one-legged gypsy, weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters - and their forebears - for generations.
With this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has written his best book to date. Holes is a 1998 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the 1999 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 1999 Newbery Medal.
A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, written by the author of "There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom".
Author Caroline Lawrence returns to the Wild West with another action-packed adventure starring Master-of-Disguise, P.K. Pinkerton.
After escaping the ruthless desperados, P.K. finally feels safe in Virginia City and is ready to set up a new private eye business. But all the mysteries in town seem to be pranks—until the day P.K. meets a young maid named Martha.
Martha's employer has been found dead . . .and now the killer is after her. The mystery takes a grave turn when Martha disappears, so P.K. consults Poker Face Jace, an expert at people-reading. With his help, PK inspects saloons and billiard rooms, and even tries sneaking into the coroner’s office. But time is quickly running out for P.K., and Martha’s life has never been in more danger.
Don't miss this follow-up to the 2012 Amazon Best Book pick, P.K. PINKERTON AND THE DEADLY DESPERADOS!
Author Caroline Lawrence returns to the Wild West with another action-packed mystery starring Master-of-Disguise, P.K. Pinkerton.
After vanquishing three notorious Desperados, twelve-year-old P.K. Pinkerton opens a private-eye business in Virginia City. P.K.'s skills are quickly put to the test: When a maid named Martha witnesses a murder, she hires the young detective to track the killer before he finds her too.
P.K. enlists a trusted ally, Poker Face Jace, to help crack the casebut collecting clues and keeping Martha safe will not be easy. Cunning liars, rogue gunslingers and deadly foes lurk at every turn, and time is running out to bring the murderer to justice.
Sharp, thrilling and vividly imagined, P.K. Pinkerton's second action-packed adventure will keep your heart racing through the very last page.
About the Author
Caroline Lawrence is an English/American author who was born in London and grew up in Bakersfield, California. Caroline currently lives in London, England.
Reading Group Guide
Ideas prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services. the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, South Carolina.
- Research juvenile detention centers in their state. Investigate the purpose of a juvenile detention center. How does the state work to rehabilitate juvenile offenders? What is the purpose of a probation officer? How is it determined whether a juvenile can be tried as an adult?
- Stanley is overweight and considered a misfit by the boys in his school and neighborhood. Discuss why Stanley is an easy target for bullies. At what point in the novel does Stanley begin feeling that he is a part of the group? Who is the leader? How do the guys view Stanley at the end of the novel? How might Stanley be considered a hero? Discuss how Stanley's heroic status might change the way his classmates view him when he returns to school in the fall.
- Ask students to make a list of the campers and their nicknames. Discuss the significance of each boy's nickname. Why is Stanley called "Caveman"? How can nicknames "label" people and affect the way they feel about themselves? How does Stanley's self-concept change as the story progresses? Why does Stanley call Zero by his real name when they are in the desert together? Discuss how Stanley and Zero help one another gain a more positive sense of self.
- Define courage. When does Stanley begin to show courage? Chart Stanley's courageous acts (e.g., stealing the truck). Which other campers might be considered courageous? What gives Stanley the courage to search for Zero? Discuss which characters in the parallel story demonstrate courage. Prepare questions you would most like to ask Stanley about his newly developed courage. How might Stanley answer their questions?
- Stanley never had a friend before arriving at Camp Green Lake. Trace the development of Stanley's friendship with Zero. What are each boy's contributions to the friendship? When Stanley finds out that Zero is the person who stole the Clyde Livingston sneakers, he feels glad that Zero put the sneakers on the parked car. Explore why.
- Stanley's father is an inventor. Although it is said that an inventor must have intelligence, perseverance, and a lot of luck, Stanley's father never seems to have such luck. Research inventors such as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and the Wright brothers. How did luck play a role in their inventions?
- Zero cannot read, but he is excellent in math. Survey at least 20 adults and ask them whether their strength in school was reading or math. Collect the data gathered and construct a graph that reveals the results of the survey. Study the graph and discuss the importance of both subjects.
- Stanley has always wanted to be an FBI agent. Find out the training that Stanley would need to accomplish his dream. What other types of law enforcement careers could Stanley investigate?
Review A Day
"Long before there was Holes
the movie, there was Holes
the book, and readers had fallen in love with Louis Sachar's interwoven tales of exploited kids, poisonous lizards, interracial love, smelly feet, and, of course, Stanley Yelnats's no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. 'Every little piece fits together,' says Frances Foster, Sachar's editor. 'There's enormous satisfaction in reading that kind of story.'"
Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor
(read the entire CSM review
"Few adult novels can hope to attain the treasured status of a beloved children's book. One can make a connection to an adult book for a variety of reasons literary, nostalgic, emotional, aesthetic but these pale in comparison to the romantic identification a child develops for a book that hits him/her just right, much as no adult relationship acquires the rarified (perhaps imaginary) intensity of young love. I read Holes
this year, about twenty years too late for such idolatry. Still, as I devoured it in one night, too thrilled to stop turning the pages just because my body needed sleep, I felt a familiar stirring and realized that if I had
discovered this book when I was nine, I would have cherished it for the rest of my life." Chris Bolton, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review