Cover image for Notes from a liar and her dog
Notes from a liar and her dog
Choldenko, Gennifer, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam's, [2001]

Physical Description:
216 pages ; 22 cm
Eleven-year-old Ant, stuck in a family that she does not like, copes by pretending that her "real" parents are coming to rescue her, by loving her dog Pistachio, by volunteering at the zoo, and by bending the truth and telling lies.
Reading Level:
580 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.8 7.0 48680.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.2 13 Quiz: 25214 Guided reading level: T.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



For Antonia MacPherson, lying is a way of life. It's what works best when you are a weed in a family of roses. No matter what she does, her mother thinks she's wrong. Her older sister, Your Highness Elizabeth (as Ant calls her), says Ant's best friend, Harrison, stinks; and her younger sister, Katherine the Great, takes notes on Ant's bad behavior to report back to their mother. The only family member to whom Ant admits to being related is Pistachio, her dog. A clever, resourceful and very funny liar, Ant sticks to her own moral code that gives Pistachio and Harrison precedence over all other living creatures. But when a concerned teacher sees the truth behind Ant's humor and lies, it seems Ant and her mother may be in for a showdown.

Author Notes

Gennifer Choldenko was born in Santa Monica, California.

Gennifer Choldenko is a Newbery Honor-winning American writer of popular books for children and adolescents. Her first novel, Notes From a Liar and Her Dog was named "Best Book of the Year" by School Library Journal and her second, Al Capone Does My Shirts, part of Al Capone on Alcatraz series, won the 2005 Newbery Honor citation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Ant, short for Antonia, is keenly aware that her mother finds her deeply annoying and uncomfortable to be around. She is so different from her sisters, "Her Highness Elizabeth" and Katy, that she becomes convinced that she's adopted. The saving graces in her life are her Chihuahua, Pistachio, her friend Harrison (with whom she swaps her great grades for his terrible ones), and a teacher, who goes by Carol ("Just Carol," as Ant always calls her). Just Carol gets work in a zoo for Harrison and Ant, but when Ant smuggles Pistachio into the zoo, endangering herself and the animals, she almost loses Just Carol's support. Choldenko catches the prickliness of adolescence, making Ant fearful and vulnerable as well as a sharp observer, particularly of adult frailties. As Ant eventually realizes, although Mother prefers the reflection of herself that she sees in her other two daughters, Ant is just as clearly her mother's offspring. Funny, moving, and completely believable, this is a fine first novel. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

Berkner (Victor Vito; Whaddya Think of That?) brings her catchy, playful tunes and spontaneous, warm performance style to a wider audience via this family concert captured on tape. Her solid blue mini-dress, the minimal party glitter on her face and her just-visible nose ring seem perfectly appropriate as she strums her guitar, sings and smiles, accompanied by Susie Lampert on keyboard and Brian Mueller on bass. Berkner's dress gives her a hip look that's not too flashy or intimidating. The audience of children and parents enthusiastically sings along to and comically acts out such Berkner hits as "Victor Vito" and "We Are the Dinosaurs." Spontaneous exchanges with Lampert and Berkner's easy, occasional laughter help convey the energy of a live event. Home viewers see the proceedings through a songbook shaped "frame," and, between the songs, vignettes featuring Berkner and her musical partners weaving in and out of some simple animation keep things moving. This video contains several previously unreleased songs, too: a generally welcome bonus and a boon for fans. Ages 1-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Author Gennifer Choldenko (Putnam, 2001) captures the thoughts and feelings of sixth grader Antonia (Ant) MacPherson, who has made lying a way of life. Ant can't believe she is part of the MacPherson family. Her exasperated mother nags and criticizes her endlessly. Her ballerina sisters are too perfect for words, winning their mother's affection with methods Ant abhors. Ant's dad moves from job to job, so the family must move from town to town.The most important people in Ant's life are her odd artist friend, Harrison, and a caring art teacher. When her lies spin out of control and hurt those she loves, Ant realizes she must make a change. Choldenko does not offer any easy answers, and the results are riveting. Narrator Ariadne Meyers does an excellent job conveying Ant's sarcasm and tenderness. Her flexible voice brings Choldenko's three dimensional characters to life, from the amusing haughtiness of Ant's sister Katherine the Great to the surprising vulnerability of her mother. Meyers is a versatile storyteller, ably conveying the tension of a mother/daughter confrontation as well as the love a young girl feels for her less-than-perfect pet. As Ant's lies accumulate and she feels the repercussions, the novel grows in power. Yet this is no sentimental melodrama. The story has its share of hilarity and gross-out moments (thanks to Ant's stint as a zoo volunteer). The entire production is first rate.-Brian E. Wilson, Oak Lawn Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1. Wolfp. 1
2. Harrison Emersonp. 9
3. Little Brown Acornp. 23
4. Pistachiop. 31
5. The Vetp. 42
6. Zoo Teensp. 48
7. Kigalip. 60
8. The Lionsp. 65
9. A Hippopotamus Oathp. 75
10. Dinner at the MacPhersons'p. 85
11. The Postcardp. 93
12. Elizabeth's Dress Rehearsalp. 99
13. The Emersonsp. 105
14. Humble Piep. 111
15. Just Carolp. 118
16. Nosep. 128
17. Other Dogs' Stinkp. 136
18. A Ridep. 143
19. The Math-a-thonp. 149
20. Family Night at Chevy'sp. 157
21. My Real Parentsp. 165
22. My Mom's Planp. 174
23. The Keyp. 184
24. Mary-Judyp. 188
25. Elizabethp. 196
26. Antp. 203
27. The Factsp. 215