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Max is handling his parents' divorce, his new home and school, and a big bully named Nick the only way he knows how: by running away. In his mind, he and his beautiful dog King have thrilling adventures in the woods; they conquer aliens and slay dragons; they embarrass Nick so he never comes near Max again.
Then Max happens upon a store called Wishworks, Inc., which promises his wish will come true in real life, "guaranteed." He wishes for a real dog to fulfill all his dreams. And then a real dog named Goldie appears on his doorstep . . . but she may be a little more real than Max expects!
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Stephanie Tolan won a Newbery Honor for SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES, which was also an ALA Notable Book and a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults. She also won the Christopher Award for LISTEN! She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.From School Library Journal:
Grade 2-3–Third-grader Max is adjusting to his parents' divorce, which includes a new school and a new house without his dad (although the man has never been emotionally present). The boy relies on King, a regal and loyal, but imaginary, dog, to deal with these challenges. In fact, Max has created an entire fantasy existence for himself that he calls Adventure Time. In it, he performs heroic feats of daring with King by his side, thereby escaping the realities that trouble him. On one of these jaunts, the owner of a nifty little shop grants Max a wish that crosses over into the real world with consequences from which the dreamer learns and grows. Perhaps the most important change is Max's newfound willingness to accept the unpredictability and messiness of life, a change that is presented in a thoughtful twist in the evolution of his relationship with King. The shopkeeper, too, is an interesting manifestation of the troubled youngster's mental process of working out his conflicts. Tolan's vivid, clean writing is deceptively uncomplicated and the many issues touched upon are handled well. This book will resonate with kids while providing parents a great jumping-off point for conversations about how to overcome some of life's obstacles. –Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
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