ALA Best Book for Young Adults
New York Public Library Best Children's Books of the 20th century
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award 2000-2001 Masterlist (1 of 30)
"Outstanding Achievement" Honor Book for 1999 by Parent's Guide to Children's Media
One of Amazon.com's 1999 Top Ten Best Books for ages 9-12
School Library Journal Best Book
Book Sense Pick
Levine shows off her considerable writing skills here, especially when she describes the orphanage and the almost Dickensian characters who inhabit it...this is a book that stretches and takes a chance, and one whose central character, a feisty and fearless kid, will be hard to forget.
★ ALA Booklist, June 1999
Levine wrote Ella Enchanted, a Newbery honor book, but she outdoes herself here with a cast of characters as strange and mixed as those in any Dickens novel. Somewhere between the laughter and tears lies one of the finest young reader's novels of 1999.
Boston Globe, December 17, 1999
...touching, beautifully told...
New York Times, November 21, 1999
This poignant and energetic novel, inspired by the author's father's childhood, comes with an all's-well-that-ends-well conclusion that brings a sense of belonging to Dave and his orphan friends, yet delivers a surprise as well. The Artful Dodger has met his match in Dave.
★ Publisher's Weekly, August 30, 1999
...a breathless read...Most remarkable is how this book pulls together pathos and humor, longing and love, misery and music. There is something magical, perhaps even miraculous, about a Dickensian tale that so convincingly shows how, in the face of harsh realities, hope and innocence are not always lost.
San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, September 26, 1999
Levine...displays a sure touch...Inspired by her own father's childhood, Levine has fashioned a winning fable certain to delight young readers everywhere.
Washington Post, December 12, 1999