Reviews for Hooper Finds a Family : A Hurricane Katrina Dog's Survival Tale

Booklist Reviews 2011 July #1
Hooper is a golden Lab puppy who describes himself as "an ordinary dog with a pleasant personality." Following a dramatic rescue during Hurricane Katrina, he is adopted by a new family, and his adjustment makes up most of this story. As a southern gentleman transplanted to New York City, Hooper worries about making friends, pleasing a skeptical owner, and standing up to the neighborhood alpha dog. Although elements of the story are anthropomorphized (an otter who helps Hooper swim during the hurricane seems more fantastical than realistic), Hooper tells his tale with a natural, highly accessible voice. The inclusion of photographs of a real-life Hoope rat the end of the bookis simultaneously intriguing and frustrating, as no author's note is provided. Still, with short chapters and an amiable protagonist, this title should easily find an audience among reluctant readers and fans of animal stories. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Jimmy, a young Labrador, is left behind when his family evacuates during Hurricane Katrina. Rescued and placed in a shelter, he's soon adopted. His new family lives in New York, and he must adjust to big-city life. Jimmy/Hooper's voice can sound forced, still, the text effectively highlights the work of animal rescue groups.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 May #2

Paley offers a first-person, present-tense account of a puppy's journey through Hurricane Katrina, based on a true story.

Jimmy has quite the story to tell. His happy life in Lake Charles, La., is suddenly disrupted by a violent storm, and he is left alone and homeless. The fierce storm and Jimmy's struggles to stay alive are described in unsparing detail. Jimmy barely escapes drowning and being eaten by a bobcat. Starving, he spots a nest of baby birds: "I lean over and snatch one. While the raft is rocking, I gobble it up. It's so good, I grab a second bird without hesitating." After being rescued from the flood waters, Jimmy describes the conditions he endures in an animal shelter before being adopted by a new family in New York. At first, Jimmy is not sure how he feels about his new life; his new "Dad" doesn't seem to think much of him, and there are the small matters of a bully in the dog park and a new name, Hooper, to get used to. Adjustment brings contentment, and readers who have followed Jimmy/Hooper's odyssey will be satisfied with the ending.

A harsh but ultimately heartwarming story about moving forward after trauma and loss by making space for new loved ones and new possibilities. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Jimmy, a one year-old yellow lab based on the author's dog, offers a harrowing first-person perspective on Hurricane Katrina. When his family doesn't return home, Jimmy nearly drowns and the trauma makes him lose his bark. Finally rescued from the roof of a floating shed, Jimmy is taken to an animal shelter, then sent to live with a family in New York City, where he is renamed Hooper. Paley fills her gentle first novel with engaging animal characters, including an otter that helps Hooper brave the hurricane and a hard-knocks mutt with one eye. Hooper's voice is humorous and good-natured ("Garbage? Are you kidding? This is a banquet hall. I can smell the hot dog from here"), but Paley balances her anthropomorphizations with genuine descriptions of his and other dogs' behaviors. When Hooper recovers his bark during a New York lightning storm ("No storm has the right to do this to me.... Hey! I don't have to be hiding anymore. Hear me?") readers may be similarly moved to stand up to their fears. Appended photos feature the real-life Hooper with Paley's family. Ages 8-12. (June)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 July

Gr 4-6--Hooper is a happy dog until Hurricane Katrina leaves him without a family and a home. Having survived the storm, he must now make the best of his new situation--living with new people in New York City. Based on a true story, this novel is a touching tale of a rescue dog. It chronicles Hooper's scary ordeal of being stranded, his rescue, and his introduction to a family whose father--still mourning the loss of his own beloved dog--is reluctant to welcome a new pet. The beginning may be a little intense for more-sensitive readers, but the book has a happy ending, and kids looking for dog stories will love it. The Hurricane Katrina aspect is interesting and could lead to good discussion. Children will enjoy the pictures of the real Hooper in the back matter. A good purchase for most collections.--Elizabeth Swistock, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlottesville, VA

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