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The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw
By author: Lois Peterson
Selling Points: "Foster families, cowboys, imagination"
ISBN: 9781554692033
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2010
Pages: 120
Fiction Ages 8-11
Availability: In stock.
Price:  $7.95
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If Burlington Northern were tied up outside, Knuckles McGraw could leap through the window right onto his back and gallop away before anyone knew he was gone. But for now he has to creep down the stairs, avoiding the creaky ones, carrying his shoes in one hand and his lunch kit in the other. He shoves his shoes under his arm so he can turn the front-door handle. It opens without making a sound.

After eight-year-old Kevin Mason's mother abandons him, he takes refuge in his fantasy of becoming Knuckles McGraw, a tough cowboy roaming the plains on his legendary horse, Burlington Northern. But instead of riding the range, Kevin is stuck in a foster home with a pierced and tattooed teenager named Ice and a mute girl named Breezy.

While he waits to be claimed by the father he barely remembers or the mother who left him a good-bye note in his lunchbox, Kevin (aka Knuckles McGraw) tries to communicate with Breezy, learns to get along with his bunkhouse-mate Ice, and discovers that memories can be as deceptive as family secrets.

Library Media Connection - October 1, 2010
"The author understands how kids think, a fact that will allow the kids in your library to thoroughly enjoy this book...Recommended."
Canadian Children's Book News - July 1, 2010
"A humorous yet sensitive story…[Peterson] fills the story with a host of characters who are unusual yet kind and as we hear their stories we develop empathy for each of them."
Resource Links - June 1, 2010
"Peterson...has written another great story for young readers. While the story is simply crafted, her language is a delight and readers will be kept engaged...The book exceeds tremendously in inspiring hope."
Booklist - June 1, 2010
"Readers will certainly be drawn to the plucky, appealing grade-schooler and the terrible plight he so bravely faces."
CM Magazine - April 30, 2010
"Peterson's fiction is a welcomed addition to an elementary school library…She incorporates interesting characters, well-developed plots, and sensitive handling of realistic issues written at an appropriate age level. I tip my cowboy hat to Peterson and the 'Orca Young Readers' series and hope I will be reading more of her work in the future. Highly Recommended."


Silver Birch Express Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2011
OLA Best Bets, commended  CA  2010
CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2011
Chocolate Lily nominee, short-listed  CA  2012
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, commended  US  2011


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OYR Levels

Key Features:
Compelling stories
Age-appropriate plots
Ideal for Lit Circles
Ideal for Independent Reading

Teaching Resources:
Teachers' Guides
Curriculum Connections
Guided Reading Levels
Accelerated Reader
Lexile levels


ISBN and collection information:
Paperbacks: $7.95
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