CHAMP HOBARTH by Judith Bernie Strommen


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 The author of Grady the Great (1990) portrays a boy coming into his own. Marty (``The Zilch'') Hobarth is a sweet-natured kid who can't measure up in a family of overachievers--an archeologist mom, a marathon-running dad, a mean, spelling-bee champ older sister. After failing to make the diving team, Marty happens on a stray St. Bernard; something in the morose creature strikes a chord with Marty, but his dad won't let him keep it. Driven by affection, Marty pursues the dog to the animal shelter, where he stumbles on work he enjoys--caring for the animals. He has to hide the job from his dad--along with his plan to make the dog his. Having to sneak around, he almost loses heart, but a timely fortune cookie and his masterful campaign to get neighbors to adopt shelter animals give him courage. The story takes unexpected--and scary--turns as Marty and his new friends face up to the shelter's not always pleasant mission, while another admirer takes an interest in the dog. The story is full of gentle humor, though it suffers at times from almost terminal cuteness. Still, it's hard not to be affected by this outsider-makes-good story, and Strommen avoids the easy way out with a bittersweet conclusion. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 21st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8050-2414-X
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993