Synopses & Reviews
The gripping story of a boy, a dog and a hurricane
Saint is a boy with confidence as big as his name is long. A budding musician, he earns money playing clarinet for the New Orleans tourists. His best friend is a stray dog named Shadow, and it's because of Shadow that Saint's still in town when Hurricane Katrina hits. Saint's not worried about the hurricane at first--he plans to live to be a hundred just to defy his palm-reader friend Jupi, who told him he had a short life line. But now the city has been ordered to evacuate and Saint won't leave without Shadow. His search brings him to his elderly neighbor's home and the three of them flee to her attic when the waters rise. But when Miz Moran's medication runs out, it's up to Saint to save her life--and his beloved Shadow's.
"Set in New Orleans during the week leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, Woods's novel introduces Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, an 11-year-old resident of the city's TremÃ© neighborhood. Named after both his grandfather and the jazz musician, Saint (an accomplished clarinet player, not a trumpeter) has a 'mostly good' life before the storm, with close ties to his parents and his tight-knit community, including a neighborhood dog, Shadow. When evacuation of the city becomes mandatory, Saint is supposed to leave town with his extended family, but he returns to his neighborhood to search for Shadow and winds up caring for his diabetic elderly neighbor, Miz Moran, as the levees break and the streets flood. While Woods (A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) concludes on a realistically uncertain note, the contrivances that allow for the book's perhaps too-happy ending (including a dream sequence and some unlikely efforts on Shadow's part) shield readers from the more devastating realities of the disaster. Still, Saint is an easy protagonist to love, and his reunion with his parents remains gratifying. Ages 10 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Gripping. . . . A small gem that sparkles with hope, resilience and the Crescent City's unique, jazz-infused spirit." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Readers will quickly take a shine to Saint. . . . The food, music, and tempo of New Orleans all come to life. . . . While the tragedy of the event is not glossed over, the overall theme is one of hope." School Library Journal, starred review
"Provides a vivid description of what life was like in pre-Katrina New Orleans, and how quickly peoples' lives were shattered. The characters are well-developed, and readers truly will care about their fates." Library Media Connection, starred review
"Spare, moving. . . . Carefully crafted backstory. . . . Vividly portrays the force of the storm, and the authentic New Orleans setting works as a powerful character, adding an extra dimension." The Horn Book
"As the water rises, so does the suspense. . . . What lies at the heart of this story rings true: Saint's love for his neighborhood and his hard-earned hope for the future." Booklist
"Will obviously beg comparison with Jewell Parke Rhodes's Ninth Ward. . . . Both books are solid reads that feature likable protagonists with distinctive, readable voices, and emphasize the importance of faith, community, and resilience." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Woods concludes on a realistically uncertain note. . . . Saint is an easy protagonist to love." Publishers Weekly
A boy, a dog, and New Orleans' most famous hurricane
Saint is a boy with confidence as big as his name is long. A budding musician, he earns money playing clarinet for the New Orleans tourists, and his best friend is a stray dog named Shadow. At first Saint is sure that Hurricane Katrina will be just like the last one--no big deal. But then the city is ordered to evacuate and Saint refuses to leave without Shadow. Saint and Shadow flee to his neighbor's attic--and soon enough it's up to Saint to save them all.
About the Author
Brenda Woods, whose family hails from New Orleans, is the author of Coretta Scott King Honor winner The Red Rose Box and ALA Quick Pick Emako Blue. She lives in the Los Angeles area.