Ginger Pye (Young Classic)

by Eleanor Estes

Paperback, 2000



Local notes

PB Est


HMH Books for Young Readers (2000), Edition: 1st Harcourt Young Classics Ed, Paperback, 320 pages


The disappearance of a new puppy named Ginger and the appearance of a mysterious man in a mustard yellow hat bring excitement into the lives of the Pye children.



Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 5.25 x 1 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
Ginger Pye, the 1952 Newbery Medal winner, is the story of a dog and his family, the Pyes (no relation to the nasty clan of that name in L. M. Montgomery's Anne books, by the way!). The Pye children, reasonable Rachel and her brother Jerry, consider their family to be quite distinctive in their
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little town of Cranbury. For one thing, their mother is the youngest mother in town. For another, their father is a well-known expert on birds. But the crowning point of the Pye family fame is Uncle Bennie, age three, born several years after his nephew and niece. For surely there is nothing more unusual and interesting than an uncle who is a baby!

Jerry and Rachel love their dog Ginger, who was purchased as a puppy by the aid of a miracle and an afternoon of hard work. Soon Ginger becomes famous in his own right for his intelligence and loyalty. But someone else sees the potential of the little dog, and when Ginger is suddenly stolen, the children are heartbroken. The story continues on, however, as the Pyes try to find their stolen dog, with no success. And lurking on the outskirts of the story is the yellow-hatted "Unsavory Character" (as the children dub him), mysterious and sinister. Was it he who stole Ginger?

Some things about the story are slightly artificial—everyone is happy and nice, and there are no visible complications in the family relationships. But there are other moments of startling honesty; life isn't all perfect and wonderful. It takes forever to get Ginger back, and when they do, there is sad evidence that the little dog was cruelly abused by the thieves. The Pyes are poor, and although the children are unexpectedly able to earn the dollar they need to buy their puppy, it's very clear that Ginger would have gone to some other home if fate had not intervened. One also feels some sympathy for Wally Bullwinkle, whose unhappy home life is hinted at but never explored. In short, this is very much a children's book. There are sad and bad things, but they are peripheral, not yet the main things. It is a comforting read.

This book was "assigned" to me by a friend who wanted me to experience this classic of his childhood. Eleanor Estes is a familiar name in circles devoted to children's literature, but somehow I missed her books as I was growing up. I'm glad this has been remedied, as I found Ginger Pye to be a rosy-colored but also honest tale, capturing perfectly that childlike reasoning that makes so much sense at the time—and that some of us can still remember. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member goodnightmoon
The plot is fine, and of course the references are archaic. But I did enjoy two aspects: the chapter from the point of view of Ginger (discovering the enemy dog in the mirror, affecting a humble pose to get out of trouble, forgetting that he was trailing Jerry!), and the reminder of what it's like
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to be a kid. I liked the part where Rachel went to sit among the "meteors" and she reflected that grown-ups thought they were ruins of a building. A playful spirit rides through the story, but the overall effect wasn't deep enough to leave an impact.
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LibraryThing member debnance
This is the kind of simple story about ordinary happy families that I read in bulk as a child. (I remember reading this particular story, in fact.) Rachel and Jerry are brother and sister, living with their mom and dad in a quiet little town. Jerry wants a dog, but he knows it is nearly impossible
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for him to earn the dollar he needs in time to buy the dog. Lo and behold, an opportunity to earn money avails itself to Jerry and, before he knows it, he is the proud owner of Ginger, a brilliantly clever dog. But, alas, others learn of Ginger’s brilliance.Ginger disappears. The rest of the book is devoted to searching for Ginger. And that’s the whole book. No family turmoil. No dysfunctional people. Everyone in the story seems, well, focused and kind and happy and…gosh, nice. Was Estes deluding herself? Were families really like this? Are most families like this now? One can always hope.
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LibraryThing member ncgraham
The 1952 Newbery Medal winner Ginger Pye was a childhood favorite of mine, a book I can still remember my mom reading to my brother and me when we were very young indeed. My continuing love for it might be simple nostalgia, but I think the fact that it has lingered in my mind all these years is
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proof of the book’s simple power, and I enjoyed it just as much as an adult as I did as a child—in parts a bit more, because when Estes discusses such things as the first and third persons (in a very round-about, child-like manner), I am now in on the joke.

The Pyes are a unique bunch: Mr. Pye is a famous “bird man” (the children’s word for an ornithologist) who is always being called on to solve all the nation’s bird problems; Mrs. Pye is the youngest housewife in town, having literally bumped into the 35-year-old Mr. Pye on when she was only 17, thus causing him to fall madly in love with her; Jerry is a normal 10-year-old boy, interested in rocks and dogs; his younger sister Rachel wants to be a “bird man” like her dad and makes up the wildest explanations for things she doesn’t really understand, and finds them entirely sensible; and Gracie-the-Cat is a lazy old thing whose only great virtue, besides rat-killing, is her ability to unlock the front door. I should probably add Mama’s brother Bennie as well, as he visits every Saturday and is considered a hero in Cranbury because he is an uncle at only three years of age. All their lives change for the better when Jerry inducts a new pet into the household, the lovable puppy Ginger, whom he bought for a hard-earned dollar. But it seems someone else wants Ginger too, an Unsavory Character whose mysterious footsteps and dirty yellow hat are the only clues they have as to his identity....

There are certain passages of this book that have stuck in my mind like bubble-gum to the bottom of school desks. The story of how Mr. and Mrs. Pye met is one of them, Mr. Pye having knocked her over while he was foolishly trying to go up the “down” escalator, only to find himself head over heels in love: “Well, of course, since Mama was such a little thing and wore only a size two shoe, and, moreover, ate like a bird, Papa had to marry her.” And who could ever forget Rachel’s argument with her friend Addie Egan over the pronunciation of the word “villain,” especially Rachel’s assertion that “it must be vilyun because vilyun sounds more vilyunous than villun”? I could even remember Dr. Kelly’s pink and green kinds of medicines: “Both tasted awful but the green was worse because it also looked bad.” It’s little touches like this that make the book really breathe, and help create the impression that the Pyes are actual people living in an actual city called Cranbury, somewhere between Boston and New York.
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LibraryThing member Omrythea
Read this, but scarcely remember it.
`Here is the book for which we have been waiting...a story written with sympathy, humor, and understanding. An outstanding book.' The Horn Book

Book Description
A heartwarming, yet quirky, story about a boy called Jerry whose much-loved puppy, Ginger Pye,
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goes missing. Jerry and his sister begin a desperate hunt for Ginger, who they're convinced has been stolen away by the stranger in the yellow hat. After months of fruitless searching the children are about to give up hope when a chance gust of wind reveals the villain to the children and Ginger Pye is saved. BLA book which has stood the test of time and deals with the special relationship between a boy and his dog in a fun and lively way
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LibraryThing member rsteinberg
In Ginger Pye Jerry and Rachel buy adog for a dollar and name him Ginger Pye.
LibraryThing member EleanorR
This book was really bad. There is no point to it. It was stupid. The dog gets lost but they find it in just a little bit. i have know idea how this won a Newberry. It is the worst book i have every read
LibraryThing member kizzie123
When it got to a certain part in the book, I was so scared to know what happened that I didn't read the book for two weeks! The author pulls you in with suspense and i loved it! I h ope you will too!(It's okay what happened in the end!=)
LibraryThing member sylvatica
Kids’ books used to be so much simpler and yet richer. Over the course of this book, very little “happens,” plot-wise, but it fits a child-like sense of time, space, and wonder. The children in this book are very accurate – once they’ve decided what the Unsavory Character looks like, they
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are looking for a guy with a silent-movie-villain moustache, for example. Ginger pup is very cute, and his humans are cuter. It takes place a decade or two before it was written, so there is some nostalgia there, as well, though it is not overt. (pannarrens)
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LibraryThing member ALindelof
Jerry just got a dog called Ginger Pye but there is a mysterys footstepper that is triing to take Ginger. One day Ginger disappers what are they going to do. This book is good for people that like dognapping and mysterys.
LibraryThing member savannahmcallister
I was not a big fan of this book. It went on and on about nothing and took forever to get to a point. I thought it jumped from one thing to the next. I personally do not understand how it recived this award. I, however, did find the sketches very cute.
LibraryThing member gvandevel
This book is about Jerry and Rachel that really want a dog just like Miss Speedy. They here that she gets pups and is selling them for one dollar. Be sure to read this book and Miss Speedy gets tackled the same day and gets to be in the hospital! This book is GREAT!
LibraryThing member jians
A book all about one little dog who every one likes, Ginger! He goes through lots of adventures with his owner Jerry. And his sister Rachel.
LibraryThing member bell7
Jerry and Rachel Pye live in Cranbury with their parents and Gracie-the-cat, but Jerry is thinking of adding a new addition to the family: a dog. Another person wants this dog, however, and a mysterious person with a yellow hat keeps appearing.

I loved the Moffats when I was younger, so I was ready
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to enjoy this Newbery award-winning story by Eleanor Estes. The Moffats are referred to a couple of times, in fact, and I kind of want to go back and reread their stories now. The characters are funny - Rachel with her too-serious way of thinking everything was like a story book, Uncle Benny who is famous because he is three and the Pye's uncle. It wasn't hard for me to figure out where the story was going, but I liked the homey tone of the narration, even when it was going off on tangents. This would make a great read-aloud book.
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LibraryThing member AngelaPrice
Jerry Pye wants what every boy wants – a dog to call his own. After earning the money to purchase his first dog, and doing so with little time to spare before the seller was to sell his dog to someone else, Jerry and his “Ginger” become inseparable. Despite the mysterious yellow hat man, whom
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Jerry believes is the man who also wanted Ginger, Jerry and his dog have many adventures around their town of Cranbury. On Thanksgiving Day, Ginger is stolen out of Jerry’s backyard, presumably by yellow hat man, and the family begins a quest to find their lost Ginger. Months pass without any clues, but on his birthday Jerry finally finds the break for which he’s been searching. Ginger Pye breaks free of her kidnapper’s confines and finds his way back to the family he loves.

This was an entertaining read. The setting transported me back to a simpler time when kids played outside and had great adventures with their friends and their dogs. I couldn’t help rooting for Jerry to figure out that his mean classmate, Wally Bullwinkle, was holding Ginger prisoner. The author gave great descriptions of some of the characters in the book, such as “perpendicular swimmer.”

In the classroom I would use this book in a literature circle featuring the works of Eleanor Estes. Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, and The Moffats provide three choices with characters that are woven throughout the books. These choices could speak to various interests and also allow for some big group comparisons. This book would be a good one to use for comparisons between how children spend their time now versus how they spent their time before the advent of television. Students could write about how they spend a typical summer day and then compare it to how Jerry spent his days. This would be an entertaining book to use as a read aloud after lunch.
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LibraryThing member catz
Ginger Pye was one of my favorite books that was a quick read and I like quick reads and I finished it in 1 day.
LibraryThing member js20
When Ginger Pye was a puppy he could already do many tricksbut then when a misterious footstepper or unsavory character steals Ginger what will happen?
LibraryThing member libby.gorman
Mom loved this as a kid, and I didn't read it until I was an adult, but then I loved it, too--maybe more than I would have as a kid. Adds to my dog-envy!
LibraryThing member erin99
Ginger Pye is about two kids, Jerry and Racheal always wanting a dog. Jerry found out that the Stanleys were saling their dogs puppies. Each puppy cost one dollar. So he thought and thought about how he would raise the money. He asked his sister Racheal if she knew any jobs. But she had nothing in
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mind. Then the next day tall Sam offered them a job. He had something else to do and asked them to do the favor. Jerry asked if they would get paid. Sam said sure how does one dollar sound. Sure enough he accepted and did the job as neat and as good as Sam. With the help of his sister and baby uncle.
I think this book is a great story for people of all ages. It is action, humor, and reality. It is good for people who have siblings and get the rivilary.
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LibraryThing member BrannonSG
Too predictable. Many pages where nothing happens.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
This is a cute little book, perfect for kids. It is written from a child's viewpoint and infused with that particular "magical view" of the world that many children have. Another thing that makes this story stand out is that the emotions are real and not glossed over. The ending, in particular,
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emphasizes both the ecstasy of reunion and the heartbreak of all the months of separation.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
Ginger Pye won the Newberry Award for 1952, beating out Charlotte's Web, which is quite a mystery. The book has some strengths, but some definite weaknesses as well.

On the good side, the book is funny at times, and sweet at times. The events take place in a quiet small town, somewhere between New
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York and Boston. The type of small town where, (in 1951 at least) young children could roam about town unattended by adults and come home after dark with no one worrying. A town where nobody locks their doors, and the jail at the police station has been empty for over ten years consecutively. This all has a certain old-fashioned charm to it. The book is dated, yes, but that didn't bother me. (The parents in his perfectly happy family met when the father was 35 and the mother was 17 and married almost immediately. I guess in 1951 that didn't seem as creepy as it does today!) Another delight was that the children behave very much the way children really do behave, rather than in the adult-leaning way they often do in children's books. However, this feature may well appeal to an adult reader like myself more than to a child - who is of course the target audience.

On the down side, the actual plot is minimal. The bulk of the book is taken up by unending little side-stories which have little or nothing to do with the basic story line. These stories are often entertaining, but rarely give any insight to the story. The tale is of the Pye children, who buy a puppy on Labor Day. The puppy is stolen from them on Thanksgiving day, still a puppy, and a good deal of time passes before they are reunited. Though Estes doesn't dwell on this sad fact, it looms in the background nonetheless. Who stole the puppy is quite a mystery for the children, but no mystery at all for the reader, as it is made obvious who the villain is before the dog even goes missing. The conclusion, reuniting the dog to the family, feels rather tossed in. The plot doesn't really lead up to it. It just happens when the author decided it was time to wrap up this book.

Do the strengths outweigh the weaknesses? For me the did, but only by a margin.
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LibraryThing member Tehya13
It took a long time to figure out where the dog was but other than that it was a cute story.
LibraryThing member Auntie-Nanuuq
Although this is a Newbery Award Winner... I felt that the story was rather disjointed and written in a style more conducive for adult readers. The author's voice was affected....

I know that this is a very popular book and many children like it.....I just felt it was lacking, especially during the
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part where Ginger Pye disappears....
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LibraryThing member Jennifer LeGault
Siblings, Jerry and Rachel, purchase an intelligent puppy, Ginger. When Ginger is stolen, the siblings set out to solve the mystery of their missing dog.

Other editions

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (Paperback)




½ (252 ratings; 3.6)
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