TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
Author Gennifer Choldenko is well known for her Newbery Honor book "Al Capone Does My Shirts." "Notes from a Liar and Her Dog," which I'm reviewing here, was her first novel for middle school readers. Antonia ("Ant") MacPherson, a 12 year-old living in a small town in Northern California, narrates her own story. Ant is smart, adventurous, and fiercely loyal to her quirky, artistic best friend Harrison Emerson and her tiny elderly dog Pistachio. Unfortunately, Ant also lies. A lot. Need some examples? She switches the A's of her report card for Harrison's lesser grades. She conveniently rearranges the numbers of her mailing address to avoid paying Pistachio's vet bills. Most damaging? She insists to everyone who'll listen that she's not actually related to the MacPhersons, even keeping a journal and scrapbook for when her "real" parents return to pick her up.
As you might imagine, Ant doesn't get along very well with her parents or her two sisters. They fight constantly, and her mom often comments that she doesn't know what to do with Ant or how to respond to her. As Ant feels more and more alone — and as her father threatens to uproot the family yet again for his job — Ant takes some comfort in volunteering at a local zoo with her art teacher, Just Carol, and Harrison. When things take a turn for the worse and Pistachio ends up in the lion's den (!), Ant, at last, has to figure out a way to tell the truth.
Ant is a funny, endearing character. She'll win you over despite her inability to tell the truth, and you'll be interested to see how she rationalizes all her lies to herself. Towards the end of the story, there are some very touching, emotional scenes between Ant and her mom, when both finally begin to open up about how they feel about each other. This is a great choice for middle school summer reading, as it's a fast read but one that isn't just fluffy or silly. In fact, I have a feeling you'll remember Ant long after you finish her story.
FROM KINNELON LIBRARY TEEN REVIEWERS:
I liked this book. A girl named Ant volunteers to help at the zoo. Her dog runs loose there and has to catch him before the owner finds him.
I liked this book because of the loving bond between the girl and her dog.