Cover image for Holes
Title:
Holes
Author:
Sachar, Louis, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[New York, NY] : Random House, [1999]

℗1999
Physical Description:
4 audio discs (4 hrs., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary:
As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a sense of himself.
General Note:
Unabridged.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 7.0 28081.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.2 12 Quiz: 13279 Guided reading level: V.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780807262023
Format :
Audiobook on CD

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Summary

Summary

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys " build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment-- and redemption. "From the Paperback edition."


Author Notes

Louis Sachar was born in East Meadow, New York on March 20, 1954. He attended the University of California, at Berkeley. During his senior year, he helped out at Hillside Elementary School. It was his experience there that led to his first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, written in 1976. After college, he worked for a while in a sweater warehouse in Norwalk, Connecticut before attending Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, where he graduated in 1980. Sideways Stories from Wayside School was accepted for publication during his first week of law school. He worked part-time as a lawyer for eight years before becoming a full-time writer in 1989. His other works include There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, the Marvin Redpost books, Fuzzy Mud, and Holes, which won the 1999 Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and was made into a major motion picture.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. Middle-schooler Stanley Yelnats is only the latest in a long line of Yelnats to encounter bad luck, but Stanley's serving of the family curse is a doozie. Wrongfully convicted of stealing a baseball star's sneakers, Stanley is sentenced to six months in a juvenile-detention center, Camp Green Lake. "There is no lake at Camp Green Lake," where Stanley and his fellow campers (imagine the cast from your favorite prison movie, kid version) must dig one five-by-five hole in the dry lake bed every day, ostensibly building character but actually aiding the sicko warden in her search for buried treasure. Sachar's novel mixes comedy, hard-hitting realistic drama, and outrageous fable in a combination that is, at best, unsettling. The comic elements, especially the banter between the boys (part scared teens, part Cool Hand Luke wanna-bes) work well, and the adventure story surrounding Stanley's rescue of his black friend Zero, who attempts to escape, provides both high drama and moving human emotion. But the ending, in which realism gives way to fable, while undeniably clever, seems to belong in another book entirely, dulling the impact of all that has gone before. These mismatched parts don't add up to a coherent whole, but they do deliver a fair share of entertaining and sometimes compelling moments. --Bill Ott


Publisher's Weekly Review

With an ever-so-slight Texas twang, Beyer transports listeners to barren, blistering-hot Camp Green Lake, the juvenile correctional facility where Stanley Yelnats is serving a sentence he doesn't deserve. If it weren't for lousy luck, Stanley would have no luck at allÄa condition that his family traces to Stanley's "no-good dirty-rotten pig-stealing great-great-grandfather." Stanley toughs out his time with an unflagging sense of humor, considering he and his fellow offenders must each dig a hole five feet wide and five feet deep every day with little water and the constant threat of poisonous lizards. But as Stanley gets into the swing of things, he and his new pal Zero discover that the warden actually has them digging for buried treasureÄtreasure that is somehow linked to the Yelnats family curse. Beyer's buoyant, boyish manner ensures that Sachar's witty novel, winner of both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, makes a smooth transition to audio. The short chapters breeze along for a thoroughly entertaining listen. Ages 8-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Stanley Yelnats is an unusual hero-dogged by bad luck stemming from an ancient family curse, overweight, and unlikely to stick up for himself when challenged by the class bully. Perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time, Stanley is unfairly sentenced to months of detention at Camp Green Lake (a gross misnomer if ever there was one!) where he's forced to dig one hole in the rock-hard desert soil every day. The hole must be exactly five feet in diameter, the distance from the tip of his shovel to the top of the wooden handle. Each boy is compelled to dig until his hole is completed, no matter how long it takes. According to the warden the digging "builds character." Stanley soon begins to question why the warden is so interested in anything "special" the boys find. How Stanley rescues his friend Zero, who really stole Sweet Feet's tennis shoes, what the warden is desperately looking for, and how the Yelnats curse is broken all blend magically together in a unique coming of age story leavened with a healthy dose of humor. Kerry Beyer's narration of Louis Sachar's Newbery Award-winning novel (FS&G, 1998) brings each of the characters vividly to life, and his pensive portrayal of Stanley brings out all that's most appealing about this unlucky loser who becomes a winner by the story's end. A first purchase for all public library collections.-Cindy Lombardo, Orrville Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Stanley Yelnats was the only passenger on the bus, not counting the driver or the guard. The guard sat next to the driver with his seat turned around facing Stanley. A rifle lay across his lap. Stanley was sitting about ten rows back, handcuffed to his armrest. His backpack lay on the seat next to him. It contained his toothbrush, toothpaste, and a box of stationary his mother had given him. He'd promised to write to her at least once a week. He looked out the window, although there wasn't much to see--mostly fields of hay and cotton. He was on a long bus ride to nowhere. The bus wasn't air-conditioned, and the hot heavy air was almost as stifling as the handcuffs. Stanley and his parents had tried to pretend that he was just going away to camp for a while, just like rich kids do. When Stanley was younger he used to play with stuffed animals, and pretend the animals were at camp. Camp Fun and Games he called it. Sometimes he'd have them play soccer with a marble. Other times they'd run an obstacle course, or go bungee jumping off a table, tied to broken rubber bands. Now Stanley tried to pretend he was going to Camp Fun and Games. Maybe he'd make some friends, he thought. At least he'd get to swim in the lake. He didn't have any friends at home. He was overweight and the kids at his middle school often teased him about his size. Even his teachers sometimes made cruel comments without realizing it. On his last day of school, his math teacher, Mrs. Bell, taught ratios. As an example, she chose the heaviest kid in the class and the lightest kid in the class, and had them weigh themselves. Stanley weighed three times as much as the other boy. Mrs. Bell wrote the ratio on the board, 3:1, unaware of how much embarrassment she had caused both of them. Stanley was arrested later that day. He looked at the guard who sat slumped in his seat and wondered of he had fallen asleep. The guard was wearing sunglasses, so Stanley couldn't see his eyes. Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He'd just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather! He smiled. It was a family joke. Whenever anything went wrong, they always blamed Stanley's no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather! Supposedly, he had a great-great-grandfather who had stolen a pig from one-legged Gypsy, and she put a curse on him and all his descendants. Stanley and his parents didn't believe in curses, of course, but whenever anything went wrong, it felt good to be able to blame someone. Things went wrong a lot. They always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He looked out the window at the vast emptiness. He watched the rise and fall of a telephone wire. In his mind he could hear his father's gruff voice softly singing to him. "If only, if only," the woodpecker sighs, "The bark on the tree was just a little bit softer." "While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely, He cries to the moo-oo-oon, "If only, if only." It was a song his father used to sing to him. The melody was sweet and sad, but Stanley's favorite part was when his father would howl the word "moon". The bus hit a small bump and the guard sat up, instantly alert. Stanley's father was an inventor. To be a successful inventor you need three things: intelligence, perseverance, and just a little bit of luck. Stanley's father was smart and had a lot of perseverance. Once he started a project he would work on it for years, often going days without sleep. He just never had any luck. Every time an experiment failed, Stanley could hear him cursing his dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley's father was also named Stanley Yelnats. Stanley's father's full name was Stanley Yelnats III. Our Stanley is Stanley Yelnats IV. Everyone in his family had always liked the fact that "Stanley Yelnats" was spelled the same frontward and backward. So they kept naming their sons Stanley. Stanley was an only child, as was every other Stanley Yelnats before him. All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they always remained hopeful. As Stanley's father liked to say, " I learned from failure." But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his father weren't always hopeful, then it wouldn't hurt so much every time their hopes were crushed. "Not every Stanley Yelnats has been a failure," Stanley's mother often pointed out, whenever Stanley or his father became so discouraged that they actually started to believe in the curse. The first Stanley Yelnats, Stanley's great-grandfather, had made a fortune in the stock market. "He couldn't have been too unlucky." At such times she neglected to mention the bad luck that befell the first Stanley Yelnats. He lost his entire fortune when he was moving from New York to California. His stagecoach was robbed by the outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. If it weren't for that, Stanley's family would now be living in a mansion on a beach in California. Instead, they were crammed in a tiny apartment that smelled of burning rubber and foot odor. "If only, if only.... The apartment smelled the way it did because Stanley's father was trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers. "The first person who finds a use for old sneakers, " he said, "will be a very rich man." It was this lastest project that led to Stanley's arrest. The bus ride became increasingly bumpy because the road was no longer paved. Actually, Stanley had been impressed when he first found out that is great-grandfather was robbed by Kissin' Kate Barlow. True, he would have preferred living on the beach in California, but it was still kind of cool to have someone in your family robbed by a famous outlaw. Kate Barlow didn't actually kiss Stanley's great-grandfather. That would have been really cool, but she only kissed the men she killed. Instead, she robbed him and left him stranded in the middle of the desert. "He was lucky to have survived," Stanley's mother was quick to point out. The bus was slowing down. The guard grunted as he stretched out his arms. "Welcome Camp Green Lake," said the driver. Stanley looked out the dirty window. He couldn't see a lake. And hardly anything was green. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from Holes by Louis Sachar, Kerry Beyer All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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