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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Meet Ginger Pye, the smartest dog you'll ever know. Jerry Pye and his sister, Rachel, feel pretty smart themselves for buying Ginger. It was the best dollar they ever spent. Ginger steals everybody's heart . . . until someone steals him!…

Ginger Pye

by Eleanor Estes

Overall Book Review:

Ten-year-old Jerry Pye, Rachel, his nine-year-old sister, and Uncle Bennie, their three-year-old uncle all pitch in to earn the dollar Jerry needs to buy the smartest puppy in the litter.

But someone else wanted the puppy too, and Jerry and Rachel hear footsteps behind them and catch glimpses of someone in a yellow hat. When Ginger Pye, their new dog, is stolen from them on Thanksgiving Day, they think it’s the person in the yellow hat, but how do they find Jerry’s puppy?

After lots of clues and much searching, Uncle Bennie saves the day! (Good readers are likely to solve the mystery before Jerry and Rachel.)

Written in 1951 by a children’s librarian, Ginger Pye mentions several classic children’s books—The Secret Garden and Swiss Family Robinson, for example. Young readers may need help to understand that the dollar Jerry needs to earn to buy the puppy would have been much more valuable than a dollar today.

The leisurely pace of this tale won’t appeal to kids who like fast-paced stories, but others will be charmed and intrigued. Even though there’s the mystery of the person with the yellow hat and the disappearance of Ginger Pye, the story is episodic, with each chapter focusing on a particular event. However, this episodic quality makes it a good book to read aloud together.

Reading Level: 7.3, range, 5.8-9.0.

Of interest to boys and girls.

Newbery Award, 1952.

This review has been acquired and adapted from

Content Analysis:

 This review was acquired from on May 15, 2014 and was not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist.  Nevertheless, it contains useful content information which is included here.  The overall number ratings have been approximated based on this information.

Mr. Pye met Mrs. Pye by knocking her down as he came up the down escalator; when their cat catches a rat, it brings it to show Mrs. Pye, if Mrs. Pye doesn’t appreciate it enough, cat “neatly rips the rat’s stomach open with her claws”; mention of incident where hundreds of birds die by flying into tall buildings; mention that puppies had their tails cut off, their stumps bandaged; cat cuffs dog if he’s bothering her, spits at him if he interrupts a nap; Jerry’s friend wants to see a dead cow; boy tries to sic dog on person following them, dog doesn’t do anything; Jerry spanks dog once to try to make it behave better; dog chases cat up a tree, ends up with his “ears torn and bleeding”; story of man whose nose gets “bitten off by a dog”—bystander picks it up, and holds it back in place till doctor comes; older boy says he’ll “thrash the living daylights out of” whoever took the kids’ dog; mean boy threatens to sic his dog on them, kicks the wood they’ve gathered to scatter it; mention of Charles I being condemned “to be beheaded”; mention of angel in church play whose wing catches on fire; trolley car on fire; Ginger has scar on his forehead.

Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:

 Mention of smell of tobacco; kids look once for empty cigarette boxes. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

On May 15, 2014 Compass Book Ratings acquired Many reviews were acquired from and these reviews were not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist. Nevertheless, the reviews contain useful content information which is included.