Holes

Author Sachar, Louis,
Language English
Publisher
London: Bloomsbury, 2010




Annotation:

As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.



Subjects :

  • Friendship
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Fiction
  • Judicial error
  • Newbery Medal
  • Juvenile corrections
  • Children's stories.
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Buried treasure
  • Adventure stories.
  • Homeless persons

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 California Department of Education
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2006 American Library Association
  • Children's Book Sense 76 Picks, Spring/Summer 2001 Book Sense 76
  • Cliffhangers, 2003 Bank Street College of Education
  • Read Alouds Too-Good-To-Miss , 1999 Indiana Library Federation
  • Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 12th Edition, 1999 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 1999 Bank Street College of Education
  • Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001 American Library Association-YALSA
  • Books for You: An Annotated Booklist for Senior High, Fourteenth Edition, 2001 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Books in the Middle: Outstanding Books, 1998 Voice of Youth Advocates
  • Books to Read Aloud to Children of All Ages, 2003 Bank Street College of Education
  • Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1998 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
  • Capitol Choices, 1998 The Capitol Choices Committee
  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Literature Choice List, 1999 Children's Literature
  • Horn Book Fanfare, 1998 Horn Book
  • Lasting Connections, 1998 Book Links
  • Los Angeles' 100 Best Books, 1998 IRA Children's Literature and Reading SIG and the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 H.W. Wilson
  • Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 H.W. Wilson
  • Not Just for Children Anymore!, 1999 Children's Book Council
  • Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 1999 NCTE Children's Literature Assembly
  • Notable Children's Books, 1999 ALSC American Library Association
  • Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 1998 Cahners
  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 1998 Cahners
  • School Library Journal Best Books, 1998 Cahners
  • School Library Journal Book Review Stars, September 1998 Cahners
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 1999 American Library Association
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1999 American Library Association
  • Young Adults' Choices, 2000 International Reading Association

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Kanga Award, 2005 Top 15 Book Australia
  • Winner of the Newbury Medal.
  • Wirral Paperback of the Year Award, 2001 Winner United Kingdom
  • Zilveren Zoen (Silver Kiss), 2000 Winner Netherlands
  • Arizona Young Readers' Award, 2001 Winner Arizona
  • John Newbery Medal, 1999 Winner United States
  • ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 1999 Winner United States
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, 2001 Winner Maryland
  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, 1999 Winner United States
  • Buckeye Children's Book Award, 2001 Winner Ohio
  • Christopher Award, 1999 Winner United States
  • Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2000 Winner Colorado
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2000 Winner Vermont
  • Edgar Allan Poe Award, 1999 Nominee United States
  • Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, 2001 Winner Washington
  • Flicker Tale Children's Book Award, 2000 Winner North Dakota
  • Garden State Children's Book Award, 2001 Winner New Jersey
  • Garden State Children's Book Award, 2001 Winner United States
  • Golden Archer Award, 2001 Winner Wisconsin
  • Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2001 Honor Book Michigan
  • Indian Paintbrush Book Award, 2001 Winner Wyoming
  • Kanga Award, 2004 Top 15 Book Australia
  • Maine Student Book Award, 2000 Winner Maine
  • Mark Twain Award, 2001 Winner Missouri
  • Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 2001 Winner Massachusetts
  • National Book Award, 1998 Winner United States
  • Nene Award, 2001 Winner Hawaii
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award, 2000 Winner Pennsylvania
  • Prairie Pasque Award, 2001 Winner South Dakota
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 2002 Winner Illinois
  • Sequoyah Book Award, 2001 Winner Oklahoma
  • Sequoyah Book Award, 2001 Winner Oklahoma
  • Soaring Eagle Book Award, 2003 Winner Wyoming
  • Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, 2003 Winner Florida
  • Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, 2003 Winner Florida
  • Volunteer State Book Award, 2003 Winner Tennessee
  • West Australian Young Readers' Book Award (WAYRBA), 2001 Winner Australia
  • White Ravens Award, 1999 Winner United States
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award, 2001 Winner Kansas
  • Young Reader's Choice Award, 2001 Winner Pacific Northwest
  • Cuffies: Children's Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 2000 Honorable Mention United States

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award , 1999-2000; Nominee Indiana
  • Texas Reading Club, 2002; Texas
  • 3 Apples Book Award, 2012; Finalist New York
  • Arizona Young Readers' Award, 2001; Nominee Arizona
  • Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, 2001; Nominee Washington
  • 3 Apples Book Award, 2007; Finalist New York
  • 3 Apples Book Award, 2009; Finalist New York
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, 2000-2001; Nominee Maryland
  • Buckeye Children's Book Award, 2001; Nominee Ohio
  • Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2000; Nominee Colorado
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2000; Nominee Vermont
  • Flicker Tale Children's Book Award, 2000; Nominee North Dakota
  • Indian Paintbrush Book Award, 2001; Nominee Wyoming
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 2000; Nominee Kentucky
  • Lone Star Reading List, 1999-2000; Texas
  • Maine Student Book Award, 1999-2000; Nominee Maine
  • Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 2001; Nominee Massachusetts
  • MRA Reader's Choice Award, 2001; Nominee Michigan
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award, 1999-2000; Nominee Pennsylvania
  • Prairie Pasque Award, 2001; Nominee South Dakota
  • Soaring Eagle Book Award, 2002-2003; Nominee Wyoming
  • Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, 2002-2003; Nominee Florida
  • Tayshas High School Reading List, 1999-2000; Texas
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award, 2000-2001; Master List Kansas
  • Golden Archer Award, 2000-2001; Nominee Wisconsin
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 2002; Nominee Illinois
  • Young Reader's Choice Award, 2001; Nominee Pacific Northwest

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Curriculum Tools :

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Reading Measurement Programs:


044022859X, 9780440228592
Dell Laurel-Leaf Books (New York:) 2001.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.6
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 660L
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 12


0440419468, 9780440419464
Dell Yearling (New York:) 2003.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.6
Accelerated Reader Points 7


9780440414803, 0440414806
Dell (New York:) 2000.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.6
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 660
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 12


9780374332655, 0374332657
Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:) 1998.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.6
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 660
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 12


0374332665, 9780440414803, 9780374332662, 0440414806
Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:) 2008.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.6
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 660
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 12

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Standard Learning Info :

Project Stars: K-5 Children's Literature and Correlation of the Virginia Standards of Learning, Winter 2002, 1995 Grade 5 Objective 5;Grade 5 Objective 6 Virginia Department of Education

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Reviews :

Robert Dunbar (Books for Keeps No. 120, January 2000)
Falsely accused of stealing a pair of trainers, young Stanley Yelnats is sentenced, by way of punishment, to eighteen months of hole digging at the horrific Camp Green Lake in Texas. Brutally exhausting as the regime is, there is, for Stanley, a measure of acceptance in his attitude to it: over the generations, after all, many members of the Yelnats family have suffered the consequences of having been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is in the gradual revelation of these past histories and the stunningly brilliant (but totally convincing) plotting through which they are linked to Stanley's fate that the genius of this novel lies. Its remarkably strong and colourful characterisation and a resolution which beautifully balances art and humanity result in a story guaranteed to entrance its readers. And, additionally, to make us reconsider our notions of crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, guilt and innocence. Category: 12+ Secondary. Rating: ***** (Unmissable). ...., Bloomsbury, 240pp, £10.99 hbk. Ages 12 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury (London:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Adèle Geras (Carousel 14, Spring 2000)
This is a most unusual novel. It's hard to convey in a few words exactly what it's like: perhaps a cross between an East European fairytale of great antiquity and the very latest laconic US Dirty Realism. There's some of the Old West in there too, and a resolutely unadorned but still poetic teenage style. The story is of the utmost simplicity and totally weird. Boys in the correctional facility of Camp Green Lake (which is neither green nor a lake) are set to dig holes in an unforgiving landscape. The warden is a sadistic woman. Poisonous lizards lie in wait. But friendship conquers all; good wins out and the whole book makes you want to throw your hat in the air and rejoice at the advent of something new and great. It's an altogether outstanding book. Category: Older .... Bloomsbury, £10.99.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury (London:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Sara Crowe (Children's Books In Ireland, Winter 2000 (No. 25))
Stanley Yelnats, the Fourth, whose name is the same backwards and forwards, has a family with a history of the worst luck, all the way back to his great-great grandfather Stanley Yelnats the First, who was cursed by a gypsy for not keeping a promise. Overweight and picked on at school, Stanley nonetheless shares his family's penchant for hope, so when a pair of smelly sneakers land on him from out of nowhere, he thinks they might be the key to his father's latest invention. His dad is trying to find a use for old sneakers, and this pair might be lucky. But as his luck would have it the sneakers belonged to a famous baseball player and had been stolen earlier that day. They were to be auctioned for thousands of dollars for charity. The judge doesn't believe Stanley when he says they fell out of the sky and he is given a choice between jail and Camp Green Lake. Because the Yelnats have never had much money, he has never been to camp before and Camp Green Lake sounds appealing. Stanley always looks on the bright side of things. When he arrives he finds that the Green Lake dried up many, many years before, and all there is at Camp Green Lake is an expansive desert. Stanley and the other members of tent D wake at 4:30 each morning and dig a hole: a five feet deep hole with a five-foot radius. At first the task is unbearable, as is the canned food, four second long cold showers and smelly bed, but Stanley still finds things to be happy about. He has his mother's cheering letters about his Dad's inventions, his new tough-sounding nickname "Caveman", and a group of close friends for the first time ever. As he digs he begins to uncover a mystery about the history of the Camp. He knows someone in his family did have a bit of luck once. Even though Stanley Yelnats the Second was held up on a train by the infamous Kissin' K Barlow and had all of his riches stolen, she didn't kiss him and kill him like she usually did, she just left him somewhere in the desert. He was lucky not to die of thirst. He was saved by something he always called "God's Thumb", but Stanley didn't know what his great-grandfather meant. Then he sees a rock in the desert that resembles a giant thumb . . . and he begins to wonder if it might save him too. Holes is fast-paced, inventive and suspenseful. There are wonderfully absurd links and an extremely satisfying ending with more than one ingenious plot twist. It also tackles important issues like race, poverty and juvenile delinquency with compassion and humour. It deserves to get as much attention as Harry Potter, a character with whom Stanley has much in common. 2000, Bloomsbury, £10.99stg (hbk). Ages 13 up.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury (London:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, July 2000 (Vol. 34, No. 4))
This Newbery Medal winner also swept the other awards as well: National Book Award; an ALA Best Book for YAs; New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year, and more. Here it is now in paperback. As most of you know by now, it is an unusual story that works like a puzzle slowly coming together, each piece more outlandish than the next. Stanley, the main character, is an overweight boy with no friends--like all the other Stanley Yelnats for several generations, he is cursed. In a terrible miscarriage of justice, he is sent to a detention center for delinquent youth, where boys are expected to dig holes all day long (hence the title). How all this is resolved--the family curse, the holes and more--is the stuff of the sometimes-hilarious story. In my opinion, Holes is an excellent children's book, and I have a harder time seeing it as a YA choice; perhaps that is because the lines between children's literature and YA literature are frequently blurry these days. KLIATT Codes: J*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 1998, Dell/Yearling, 233p, 20cm, $5.99. Ages 13 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Dell (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000,c1998.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
PW's starred review of the 1999 Newbery Medal winner described it as a "dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism." Ages 10-up. (May)
(PUBLISHER: Dell (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000,c1998.)

Bill Ott (Booklist, June 1 & 15, 1998 (Vol. 94, No. 19 & 20))
Middle-schooler Stanley Yelnats is only the latest in a long line of Yelnats to encounter bad luck, but Stanley's serving of the family curse is a doozie. Wrongfully convicted of stealing a baseball star's sneakers, Stanley is sentenced to six months in a juvenile-detention center, Camp Green Lake. "There is no lake at Camp Green Lake," where Stanley and his fellow campers (imagine the cast from your favorite prison movie, kid version) must dig one five-by-five hole in the dry lake bed every day, ostensibly building character but actually aiding the sicko warden in her search for buried treasure. Sachar's novel mixes comedy, hard-hitting realistic drama, and outrageous fable in a combination that is, at best, unsettling. The comic elements, especially the banter between the boys (part scared teens, part Cool Hand Luke wanna-bes) work well, and the adventure story surrounding Stanley's rescue of his black friend Zero, who attempts to escape, provides both high drama and moving human emotion. But the ending, in which realism gives way to fable, while undeniably clever, seems to belong in another book entirely, dulling the impact of all that has gone before. These mismatched parts don't add up to a coherent whole, but they do deliver a fair share of entertaining and sometimes compelling moments. Category: Older Readers. 1998, Farrar/Frances Foster, $16. Gr. 6-9.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Kathleen Karr (Children's Literature)
Because of a curse placed on his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather, Stanley Yelnats finds himself at Camp Green Lake, a residence for juvenile offenders. Overweight and unlucky, Stanley tries to do his best to fit in and to excel at the camp's one activity: digging holes. Yes, holes. Holes precisely five feet deep by five feet wide all across the godforsaken desert landscape of a dried-out Texas lake. How holes become Stanley's salvation is the meat of this quirky, brink-of-surreal story that believably floats between past lives and present realities. Sachar's earlier "Wayside School" stories always had a Pinkwaterish edge to them, but in Holes he comes fully, brilliantly into his own voice. This is a can't-put-it-down read. Winner of the 1999 Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. 1998, Frances Foster/Farrar Straus & Giroux, $16.00. Ages 10 up.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1998)
In this age of gloom and doom in children's fiction, it's refreshing to find a truly funny book for kids. Sachar's over-the-top satire has depth, originality and loads of child appeal. Poor Stanley Yelnats is convinced he'll never get ahead in life due to a curse brought on his family by his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather." Falsely charged with the theft of a pair of valuable sneakers, Stanley is sent to a juvenile detention camp where he is forced, day after day, to dig a hole that's exactly five feet across and five feet deep. Sound grim? It is! But what makes this funny is Stanley's understated, deadpan description of the camp, the people in charge of it (Mr. Sir, Mr. Pedanski, and The Warden), the other delinquents (Zero, Zigzag, Armpit, X-Ray, Magnet, and Squid), and how their story fits together with the historical events which led to his family's infamous curse. The intricacy of the plot, eccentricity of the characters, and overall absurdity of the story reminds us of the novels of Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game; Figgs & Phantoms). Just beneath the surface of this entertaining tale, however, is a more serious statement about the enduring power of friendship and loyalty when the odds are stacked against you -- curse or no curse. Winner, 1998 CCBC Newbery Discussion. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children. 1998, A Frances Foster Book / Farrar Straus Giroux, 233 pages, $16.00. Ages 10-14.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1998)
Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.). Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories--but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles. 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. 1998, Farrar Straus & Giroux, $16.00. © 1998 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
This wry and loopy novel about a camp for juvenile delinquents in a dry Texas desert (once the largest lake in the state) by the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom and the Wayside School series has some serious undercurrents. Stanley Yelnats (appropriately enough for a story about reversals, the protagonist's name is a palindrome) gets sent to Camp Green Lake to do penance, "a camp for bad boys." Never mind that Stanley didn't commit the crime he has been convicted of--he blames his bad luck on his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather." He digs five-foot-deep holes with all the other "bad" boys under the baleful direction of the Warden, perhaps the most terrifying female since Big Nurse. Just when it seems as though this is going to be a weird YA cross between One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Cool Hand Luke, the story takes off--along with Stanley, who flees camp after his buddy Zero--in a wholly unexpected direction to become 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. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Katherine Barr (The ALAN Review, Fall 1999 (Vol. 27, No. 1))
Found guilty of stealing a pair of sneakers that were to be auctioned off to raise money for the homeless, Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake, a correctional facility in an old lakebed that is now desert. He realizes that although the warden claims that digging builds character, the boys in the facility are actually looking for something in these holes. The key to this mystery is hidden in the relationship between Stanley's family and that of the Zeroni family, a tale that goes back four generations to Latvia when Stanley's great-great-grandfather broke a promise to Madame Zeroni. Hector Zeroni and Stanley meet at the camp, find themselves pitted against the warden and the other boys, and help each other survive in the desert thereby breaking Madame Zerone's curse on the Yelnats family. Although the outcome might be guessed, Sachar creates a suspenseful tale that keeps the reader cheering for Stanley and Hector as the boys overcome each obstacle in their path, including a crazed warden searching for treasure and the poisonous, yellow-spotted lizards living in holes in the desert. Holes won the 1999 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature in the fiction category. 1998, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 233 pages, $16.00. Ages 10 up.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, September 1998 (Vol. 52, No. 1))
Stanley Yelnats (yes, that's a palindrome) is sent to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility for a crime he didn't actually commit. Once there, he discovers that the inmates' days are spent digging holes out in the Texas desert, with the bait of getting a day off if they find something the Warden considers "interesting or unusual." Stanley forms a bond with an expert hole-digger named Zero, whom he teaches to read, and when Zero runs away into the desert, Stanley, after initial hesitation, follows him. The two boys then struggle for survival, aided by lore and leftovers from their ancestors, who sowed the seeds for the drama that's being enacted now. This reads much more clearly than it explains: Sachar has cunningly crafted his fiction, precisely placing snippets of historical backstory within the chronicle of Stanley's travails, so that the focus of the book is the coming together and resolving of the manifold strands of karma (including Stanley's no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather, the feared nineteenth-century bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, a cheated gypsy, a gentle onion fancier, and more). Sachar's dry, wry tone assists in making the book's aim something other than gritty realism; though there is indeed wicked villainy and triumphant virtue, the point is less the struggle of the individual characters than their place in the working out of the larger pattern. Though this isn't as much a puzzle book as Raskin's The Westing Game, readers who appreciated that book's detailed construction as much as its story will enjoy watching Stanley's saga unfold and fold together again. (Reviewed from galleys) Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 1998, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1998, Foster/Farrar, 240p, $16.00. Grades 5-8.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Stephen Fraser (The Five Owls, March/April 1999 (Vol. 13, No. 4))
Louis Sachar is the author of such popular books as the Marvin Redpost chapter-book series and the excellent novel The Boy Who Lost His Face--but he is probably best known for his Sideways Stories from Wayside School and its sequels. He is a writer of dead-on honest books that are accessible and fun. Holes, his latest book, has received both the 1998 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the 1999 Newbery Medal. It is the humorous tale of Stanley Yelnats (his name is a palindrome), who is sent to a correctional facility in Texas for a crime he didn't commit. Stanley is accused of stealing a pair of sneakers belonging to a famous baseball player who had donated his shoes to a fundraising event for the homeless. What actually happened is that Stanley was walking innocently under an overpass, when the sneakers fell on his head. It seems ever since Stanley's great-great-grandfather stole a pig and was cursed by a gypsy, the family has always been unlucky. And now, Stanley IV is at Camp Green Lake. Stanley is immediately put to work digging holes in the ground. They dig holes five feet deep and five feet wide all over the yard, creating a bleak lunar setting. This is a colorful group of young men, with names like Zero, Zig Zag, X-Ray, and Armpit. The Warden is a tough, desperate woman who wears red fingernail polish laced with rattlesnake venom; the boy's supervisor, Mr. Pendanski (whom the boys call "Mom"), tells Stanley, "You're digging to build character." One of the satisfying elements of this remarkable book is the friendship that develops between Stanley and Zero. Stanley teaches Zero to read--and Zero, in turn, uses his expert hole-digging skills to help his friend. Zero is no zero; the sheer joy of learning makes his given nickname echo ever more dully. When he disappears into the Texas desert, Stanley bolts from Camp to find him. What unfolds is a Dickensian tale with a satisfyingly round finale: family curses, lizards, buried treasure, friendship, comeuppances--this book has it all. Holes is a story even the most reluctant readers will enjoy, with the sarcastic humor that readers have come to expect from Louis Sachar. But it has something else--writing so good that you wouldn't want to change a single word. It is, in fact, a perfect book--one that brings the level of children's books up several notches, and a story that young readers will devour for the pure pleasure of it. 1998, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 5-1/4 x 8-1/4, 240 pages, $16.00. Ages 12 up.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Mary Ann Capan (VOYA, December 1998 (Vol. 21, No. 5))
Stanley Yelnats, an underprivileged teen, is wrongly convicted of stealing. Faced with the choice between going to jail or attending Camp Green Lake, Stanley eagerly chooses the camp (something he has never experienced before). When he arrives, Stanley discovers that this juvenile detention center is neither green nor wet--it is in the middle of a desert. The center becomes Stanley's temporary home where he and others live under the most primitive conditions. Seven days a week, each detainee must dig a hole in the dried-up lake bed, five feet wide and five feet deep. According to the warden this builds character, but as the story unfolds, Stanley learns that they are not just digging to find themselves. When one of the boys runs away, Stanley goes after him. At the same time, this fast-paced book also tells the story of Stanley's family from generations ago. By the end, the reader comes to understand how the two stories are intertwined and ultimately resolved because of Stanley's courage and selflessness. This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking, with a bit of a folklore thrown in for good measure. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1998, Farrar, 235p., $16.00. Ages 11 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, July 2000 (Vol. 34, No. 4))
This Newbery Medal winner also swept the other awards as well: National Book Award; an ALA Best Book for YAs; New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year, and more. Here it is now in paperback. As most of you know by now, it is an unusual story that works like a puzzle slowly coming together, each piece more outlandish than the next. Stanley, the main character, is an overweight boy with no friends--like all the other Stanley Yelnats for several generations, he is cursed. In a terrible miscarriage of justice, he is sent to a detention center for delinquent youth, where boys are expected to dig holes all day long (hence the title). How all this is resolved--the family curse, the holes and more--is the stuff of the sometimes-hilarious story. In my opinion, Holes is an excellent children's book, and I have a harder time seeing it as a YA choice; perhaps that is because the lines between children's literature and YA literature are frequently blurry these days. KLIATT Codes: J*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 1998, Dell/Yearling, 233p, 20cm, $5.99. Ages 13 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
PW's starred review of the 1999 Newbery Medal winner described it as a "dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism." Ages 10-up. (May)
(PUBLISHER: Farrar Straus and Giroux (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.)

Henry Jack Smith (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 12, No. 1))
HOLES was the winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. The work does not rank among the best Newbery winners, but it is entertaining. The surreal story tells of Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to a juvenile detention center through a miscarriage of justice. Kerry Beyer renders an enjoyable audio book reading. Beyer's folksy narration lends itself to the farcical nature of the book. The listener is treated to a host of delightful protagonists and villains tangled in a web of implausible coincidences. How delightful to blame life's calamities on a family curse brought on by a "no-good, dirty-rotten, pig-stealing great-great-grandfather"...or to encounter a villain whose secret nail polish ingredient is rattlesnake venom...or to learn how a sweet, loving, peach-preserving school teacher is transformed into the notorious outlaw--Kissin' Kate Barlow! Sachar's Newbery award acceptance speech noted that he wrote the book as entertainment rather than for moral or value content. In that regard, librarians should purchase the fun audio book as a companion to the printed book to pace slower readers. Accelerated and gifted readers will enjoy listening to the book as they work on other projects. The book on tape is a good alternative to radio listening during a family car trip. (Unabridged. 3 audiocassettes. 4 hrs. 30 mins.) Fiction. Grades 2 and up. 1999, Listening Library, $23.98. Ages 7 up.
(PUBLISHER: Listening Library ;distributed by Recorded Books (Old Greenwich Conn.:) (Prince Frederick MD:), PUBLISHED: p1999.)

Toni Buzzeo (Audiofile, October/November 1999)
Digging a hole five feet deep and five feet across is a formidable task. Digging innumerable holes under the Texas summer sun in a dry lake bed infested with rattlesnakes, scorpions and poisonous yellow-spotted lizards is meant to challenge one's instinct for survival. When Stanley Yelnats, wrongfully convicted of theft, is sentenced to time at Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility, his focus is endurance, but his lessons extend to family history and the great wheel of justice. Kerry Beyer's smooth narration draws the reader into Stanley's unfortunate experience without theatrics. As a result of Beyer's unvarnished delivery, the listener believes in Stanley's unlikely existence, and Sachar's improbable cast of secondary characters is individualized in entertaining fashion. An admirable reading of the 1999 Newbery Award novel. T.B. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine Unabridged. 1999 (orig. 1998), Listening Library, Three cassettes, 4.5 hrs., Retail pak, $19.95, Four CDs, $28.00. Ages 13 up.
(PUBLISHER: Listening Library/Random House, PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
With an ever-so-slight Texas twang, Beyer transports listeners to barren, blistering-hot Camp Green Lake, the juvenile correctional facility where Stanley Yelnats is serving a sentence he doesn't deserve. If it weren't for lousy luck, Stanley would have no luck at all--a condition that his family traces to Stanley's "no-good dirty-rotten pig-stealing great-great-grandfather." Stanley toughs out his time with an unflagging sense of humor, considering he and his fellow offenders must each dig a hole five feet wide and five feet deep every day with little water and the constant threat of poisonous lizards. But as Stanley gets into the swing of things, he and his new pal Zero discover that the warden actually has them digging for buried treasure--treasure that is somehow linked to the Yelnats family curse. Beyer's buoyant, boyish manner ensures that Sachar's witty novel, winner of both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, makes a smooth transition to audio. The short chapters breeze along for a thoroughly entertaining listen. Ages 8-up. (May)
(PUBLISHER: Listening Library/Random House, PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
Stanley Yelnats isn't so surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a juvenile detention center. After all, his family has been ridden with bad luck ever since a one-legged gypsy put a curse on his great-great grandfather. He is told that the hard labor he must perorm...digging 5 foot holes in the dried up soil where Green lake once sat...is meant to build character. But it soon becomes clear to Stanley that the warden is really using the boys to search for something very valuable. The story of the hidden treasure along with the warden, Stanley's friend Zero, and the curse on the Yelnats family are all part of a compelling puzzle that has taken generations to unravel. nd, n/a, Unabridged Cassette - Library Edition; 21732, $31.75. Ages 13 to 18.
(PUBLISHER: Listening Library/Random House, PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
Stanley Yelnats isn’t so surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a juvenile detention center. After all, his family has been ridden with bad luck ever since a one-legged gypsy put a curse on his great-great grandfather. He is told that the hard labor he must perform ... digging 5-foot holes in the dried up soil where Green lake once sat ... is meant to build character. But it soon becomes clear to Stanley that the warden is really using the boys to search for something very valuable. The story of the hidden treasure along with the warden, Stanley’s friend Zero, and the curse on the Yelnats family are all part of a compelling puzzle that has taken generations to unravel. n.d., n/a, Unabridged CD - Library Edition; CB268, $32.75. Ages 13 to 18.
(PUBLISHER: n/a Unabridged CD- Library Edition; CB268 $32.75., PUBLISHED: n.d.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
London: Bloomsbury, 2010

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. ;
(813.54)
1408809370
9781408809372
Originally published New York Frances Foster 1998; London Bloomsbury 2000.
New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2008

Media Type: Language Material
265 p.:
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
9780374332662
9780440414803
0374332665
0440414806
"10th anniversary edition with bonus material."-jkt.
"Frances Foster Books."
London: Bloomsbury, 2007

Media Type: Language Material
233 p. ;
(813.54)
9780747589990
0747589992
Originally published U.S. Frances Foster 1998; London Bloomsbury 2000.
Formerly CIP.
London: Bloomsbury Children's, 2003

Media Type: Language Material
98 p. ;
(813.54)
0747563667
9780747563662
Originally published New York Frances Foster 1998; London Bloomsbury 2000.
Film tie-in.
New York: Dell Yearling, 2003

Media Type: Language Material
233 p.:
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
0440419468
9780440419464
Originally published New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux 1998.
Austin Tex.: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 2002

Media Type: Language Material
293 p. ;
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
0030664128
9780030664120
Novel followed by narratives and excerpts from related stories and a biographical sketch of the author.
Leicester: Spectrum, 2001

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. ;
(813.54)
0708995543
9780708995549
Originally published New York Frances Foster 1998; London Bloomsbury 2000.
New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf Books, 2001

Media Type: Language Material
231 8 p. ;
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
044022859X
9780440228592
London: Bloomsbury, 2000

Media Type: Language Material
233 p. ;
(813.54)
0747546487
074754459X
0747548471
9780747546481
9780747544593
9780747548478
Originally published New York: Farrar Strauss & Giroux 1998.
New York: Dell, 2000

Media Type: Language Material
233 p.
(Fic)
0440414806
9780440414803
Listening Library/Random House, 1999

Media Type: Nonmusical Sound Recording
3ct.
F
080728162X
9780807281628
Unabridged and read by Kerry Beyer.
Awarded the Newbery Medal 1999.
Read by Kerry Beyer.
Old Greenwich Conn.: Listening Library ;, 1999

Media Type: Nonmusical Sound Recording
3 sound cassettes (4 hr. 30 min.):
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
0807280712
9780807280713
In container (22 cm.).
"Unabridged Fiction."-Cover.
Thorndike Me.: Thorndike Press, 1999

Media Type: Language Material
288 p. (large print) ;
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
0786221860
9780786221868
New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1998

Media Type: Language Material
233 p. ;
PZ7.S1185 ([Fic])
0374332657
9780374332655
"Frances Foster books."
n/a Unabridged CD- Library Edition; CB268 $32.75.,

Media Type:

9780739331767
0739331760

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