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Protecting Marie

Author Name:Henkes, Kevin


Relates twelve-year-old Fanny's love-hate relationship with her father, a temperamental artist, who has given Fanny a new dog.

From Publishers Weekly

A girl struggles to win the acceptance of her father, an aging artist; in a starred and boxed review, PW said that Henkes "affirms the resiliency of the creative spirit and the transcending power of love." Ages 12-up. 
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7?Frustration, love, and sensitivity underscore the dynamics of family life for Fanny Swann, 12, the main character in this absorbing, well-crafted novel. 
Henkes has created strong and believable characters in Fanny; her artist father, Henry; and Ellen, her nurturing mother.
Henry is having problems dealing with aging and doubts about his talents.
When he goes off by himself rather than attend his own 60th birthday party, Fanny is angry and guilty at the same time, thinking that she is the cause of his behavior.
While she loves and admires him, she also fears him and feels that he doesn't understand her.
There has also been a rift between them since he gave away her incorrigibly rambunctious puppy months before.
Despite his moodiness and unpredictable nature, a deep, strong love holds this family together.
Fanny has an enviable relationship with her mother, who acts as a buffer between father and daughter.
A new older and calmer dog is the catalyst for all of them to ultimately discuss their feelings, accept criticism, and try to change their behavior.
In a time when dysfunctional families get center-stage in fiction for this age group, it is refreshing to find a novel that celebrates the family without being pedantic or unrealistic.
A book that has much to say about admitting mistakes, facing consequences, and granting forgiveness.?Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJCopyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.

From Booklist

Fanny Swann, 12, is always tense around her moody artist father.
She knows he loves her, but he's short tempered and obsessive, especially when his work isn't going well, especially now that he's turning 60.
When he gives her a big, friendly dog at Christmas, it's as if her deepest wish has come true, but she's terrified she won't be able to keep her pet.
Can she trust her father? Always, she's watching, listening.
Will the dog disturb Dad's work? Will Dad be in a bad mood? Fanny's mother is a wise and perfect background figure, but the father is achingly real in his love and his anger.
Fanny's viewpoint is sometimes too adult, and the Snow Queen metaphor for inner transformation seems added on to the story.
But, like Henkes' picture books, his novel gets the physicalness of the domestic scene and the child's powerlessness in a world run by unpredictable grown-ups.
Best of all is the pet story, "hot and loamy and sweet-stinky and comfortable." Fanny's love for her dog is there in all its trembling particularity.
Hazel Rochman

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.

About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of many books for children of all ages—among them are Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, and Wemberly Worried. 
He was awarded the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon, a Caldecott Honor for Owen, and a Newbery Honor for Olive's Ocean.
He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.


Children's Books,Animals,Dogs

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     I never really thought I would get into this book. I just nonchalantly picked it up off of the bookshelf in the library. I began to read it. I was pulled in by the very real display of emotion, and the dialog was also very realistic. The characters were described so well, I could almost see them. The story line was also something that actually does happen. Dogs do get taken away because of destructive habits. As I read the story, It felt like it was really winter outside, and I imagined myself sitting in front of a warm fireplace, listening to it crackle, and drinking hot chocolate. Just like Fanny. I read the whole book in less than a day. I couldn't disconnect myself from it. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

  •     One thing I liked about Protecting Marie was that it was very realistic. The story would very likely happen in today's world.

  •     Protecting MarieBy: Kevin HenkesReviewed by: Catherine LiPeriod: 6 This book talks about the life of a 12-year-old girl whose name is Fanny. Her farther is an artist and is very hard to live with. His business is not going too well and he gets upset easily, particularly when he is not satisfied with his work. Fanny has always loved dogs, one night when her dad was not able to show up for his 60-year-old birthday party he brought back a Labrador puppy. However, her dad needs concentration for his work, and when the puppy began breaking things and fooling around at the house, he sent the puppy away to someone. Fanny is heart broken and misdirected her anger, frustration, and emotional outrage. One night Fanny's father comes home with another dog named Dinner. But Fanny is afraid, she worries that Dinner would ruin her dad's concentration, and he would send her away too. Soon, her father began using Dinner as the main model in his painting. Fanny understood then, that her father would never send anything away that she loves. I found this book touching in some ways. This book is very straightforward and easy to understand. It isn't a very exciting book, but it has good writings and is a worthy book to read. Though, I think the title doesn't exactly match the meaning of the story. For instance, "Her mouth was a pouty circle, and short, slitty lines served as eyes and eyelashes." The sentences are short and simple to read. This book isn't very descriptive nor complex. The sentences are also short, but it makes perfect sense. "The petals were so dark they looked black at the innermost whorl." It is in a very good writing, especially in a drama type of book. I enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't the story that interested me, but the moral of this story. Even though the story doesn't completely mean the same meaning as the title, there was a important lesson about this doll (Marie) Fanny owned. The moral of this story is not to show emotional outrage to anyone in your family. Fanny never trusted her father, and she hid her belongings away from him. I recommend this book to everyone.

  •     I bought this book in the fourth grade. It sat on my bookshelf for four months until I read it over Christmas break.Oh. My. God.Most phenomenal book I have ever read.

  •     This story seems to consist of multiple things mixed into one plot. You never know what may happen next and yet you just might guess what comes next.

  •     This is a compelling story of a very alert twelve-year-old, fanny. Fanny has always wanted a dog but her short tempered father has not allowed one.

  •     This story about a girl and her dream to own a dog are really touching. The father's character was a large part of the story, and although it was pretty harsh, the story wouldn't...

  •     We share the same story - an old dog came into our lives and has given us such joy.

  •     Great Condition! Thank you!

  •     Not being a big fan of "dog stories," I picked this book up from the library only because I admire Kevin Henkes' writing. I didn't even open it until the evening before it was due. As it turned out, I was hooked from the first paragraph and stayed up until midnight to read the whole thing. I was surprised how thoroughly the book brought me into into this 12-year-old girl's head and life, and how stirringly it depicted Fanny's strained relationship with her father. Every detail seemed perfect. The dogs in the story are terribly important to Fanny, and are important measures of her relationship with her father, but the problems in the relationship go deeper than that, and the new dog isn't a cure-all for the problems. I expected a simple story about a girl wanting a dog, but this book delivered much more. I had to return the book to the library, but I plan to buy a copy to keep.

  •     Interesting story with great potential for classroom lessons, work, and discussion about relationships, growing up, personality types, generation gaps, abusive situations (borderline), psychology, and packed full of different forms of figurative language....really, really can be found everywhere throughout the book. Very useful for students to learn how to picture things as they read and also for those who are not native speakers of English (to learn more about cultural references, etc.). I am using in a Grade 5 classroom.

  •     My child loves books with detail and so admires this author.

  •     In the book, Protecting Marie, Fanny is a girl who loves dogs. When she gets her first dog, she immediately falls in love with him. Unfortunately, the dog soon gets out of control! His ripping of the furniture and making a mess finally set Fanny's father to give him away. Ever since, Fanny has looked at her father in a different way. When he didn't show up for him own 50th birthday party, Fanny was convinced he wasn't returning. Her mother kept positive about the situation and decorated the house for Christmas with Fanny. To Fanny's surprise, when her father came home, he brought the best gift Fanny could ever hope for. As she came downstairs, she saw a face staring back at her, a new dog! Although Fanny tried not to, she fell in love with her dog, Dinner, in every way. If even Fanny's father loved Dinner, then why is Dinner missing when Fanny comes home from school? When Fanny finds a note saying her father brought Dinner to their friend who had been admiring the dog, Fanny could only think of one conclusion, Dinner is gone...or is he? I really enjoyed Protecting Marie!! It tells a story about a girl and her father, and the importance of friendship. This book keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. I was shocked when I found that Dinner was missing! The ending is very climatic and satisfying. I really liked this book and would definitely recommend this book to fathers, daughters, dog lovers, or anyone looking for a great realistic fiction story.

  •     Twelve-year-old Fanny Swann lives in Madison, WI, with her sixty-year-old father, Henry Swann, a university art professor and rather temperamental painter, and her forty-year-old...


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