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Holes (Holes Series) Paperback – May 9, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Winner of the National Book Award
#1 New York Times Bestseller
A New York Public Library's 100 Great Children's Books 100 Years Selection
"A dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"There is no question, kids will love Holes." —School Library Journal, Starred Review
"[A] rugged, engrossing adventure." —Kirkus Reviews
"This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking." —VOYA
"[Sachar] comes fully, brilliantly into his own voice. This is a can't-put-it-down read." —The Bulletin
- Publisher : Yearling (May 9, 2000)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 233 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0440414806
- ISBN-13 : 978-0440414803
- Reading age : 10 - 13 years
- Lexile measure : 660L
- Grade level : 5 - 6
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.73 x 7.62 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Can an entire lake ("the largest lake in Texas" p. 15) dry up in one person's lifetime? Kissing Kate Barlow was a school teacher, already an adult when the lake was full, then as an older adult she is burying treasure in the middle of its dry basin. I'm just sayin. Oh and Trout Walker catches up to her and Sam with a motor boat. Yet years later she's robbing stagecoaches! A bit anachronistic.
Why did Stanley feel he had to lie in his letters to home and make it sound like he was water skiing and having fun when really he was in a slave camp? The explanation is that they wanted to "pretend". Perhaps adults just shouldn't read this book.
Stanley just HAPPENS to be sentenced to dig a whole and he just HAPPENS to find a treasure from an ancestor in an area only 5ft by 5ft within the first few days, and it HAPPENS to have his name on the suitcase? And his new friend just HAPPENS to be the guy that stole the sneakers that put him there! And they survive on the very onions that Sam used to grow. and the "fabulous spiced peaches" (p. 101) of Katherine Barlow! I realize the author is trying to force a circle but it's just not realistic.
A word about Sam whom we learn about in chapter 25. Apparently he was well-respected, "nobody argued with Sam" he ran a successful onion-growing business and the townspeople would come to him for onion remedies. Even the town doctor used Sam's onion-cure for baldness. He was a valued carpenter as well. Yet all it took was a kiss ("it's against the law for a negro to kiss a white woman" p.113) for all hell to break lose: the school house is burned down, a donkey is shot, and Sam is to be hung on a rope without a trial apparently. With kids growing up with stories like these, it's no wonder we don't make much progress.
Why were the guards so loyal to the sadistic Warden? Were they going to get a share of a treasure whose only proof of existence was family lore? And of course all these juvenile delinquents are so nice and don't even curse. I'm sure they were all innocent like Stanley and Zero. Even the car thief "Twitch" was innocent, his criminal record justified as the result of some kind of medical condition: "I never plan to steal one...I'll just start twitching" p. 145.
Katherine Barlow was a respected school teacher. After Sam kisses her, Sam is then murdered for the "crime" in front of her. She never recovers from the shock. She turns into the "famous outlaw" Kissing Kate Barlow, who leaves a lipstick mark on her murder victims and one victim is Stanley's ancestor whom she leaves stranded in a desert to suffer and die. In short, she goes insane. Why is there not more outrage from women readers at this demeaning narrative? A woman who cannot rise up and overcome the lost love of a man, but rather dwells in the same moment for the rest of her life (Mrs. Havisham?), re-enacting the kiss on dead corpses like some necrophiliac! Yes, it's really quite disturbing the more you think about it.
The book is not lengthy and easy to read. Good characters well described. Well written. Not boring. Recommended for all teenagers. Adults can enjoy. I read the book because my son is reading it at school.
Both my boys can be sensitive to darker plots and humor but they both really enjoyed this book - it wasn't too much for them. It's recommended for third grade and up but I found it appropriate for my first and second grader. The only mildly inappropriate instance is when one character says, "What the hell?" I didn't even notice when I was reading it but my first grader was quick to point out at our book club meeting that it was his favorite part - because of the "bad" word. Such a proud parenting moment.
Speaking of book club, this was a great selection for the Intergenerational Book Club (IGBC) at my church. There were kids from first through fifth grade (mostly boys) and all of them enjoyed this book. For snacks we had worms and dirt (made by the kids), doughnut holes, and pumpkin onion cookies. (Onions play an important role in the story.)
Top reviews from other countries
This is a book for the whole family. It will make you laugh and cry. It will make you think about luck, friendship, love and the way these wonderful things provide relief in challenging circumstances. There are many lessons woven in a clever story.
My 10 year old son loved the book and I did as well. Originally I only read it to encourage his reading but fell under the book’s spell. Enjoyable for all ages. It’s now one of my all time favourite books!
A great read and I would recommend to read it.