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Children's Fiction Siblings

Pine Island Home

by (author) Polly Horvath

Tundra Book Group
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Siblings, New Experience, Girls & Women
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


From Newbery Honor-- and National Book Award--winning author Polly Horvath comes a story of four sisters searching for home.

Fiona, Marlin, Natasha, and Charlie McCready are left on their own when their missionary parents are washed away in a tsunami. Fortunately, their great aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls - a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.
Fiona approaches their grouchy and indifferent neighbor Al and asks if he will pretend to be their live-in legal guardian should papers need to be signed or if anyone comes snooping around. He reluctantly agrees, under the condition that they bring him dinner every night. As weeks pass, Fiona takes on more and more adult responsibilities, while each of the younger girls finds their own special role in their atypical family. But even if things seem to be falling into place, Fiona can't help but worry that it is only a matter of time before they are caught. What she needs to do is find them a real guardian.

About the author

Polly Horvath is one of the most highly acclaimed authors writing today. Her books include The Canning Season (winner of the National Book Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award), Everything on a Waffle (a Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book and winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize), The Trolls (a National Book Award finalist), My One Hundred Adventures (a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Editors' Choice, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of the Year and winner of a NAPPA Gold Award and the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize), and Northward to the Moon (an Oprah's Book Club Kids' Reading List selection and winner of a Parents' Choice Gold Award). Her most recent book is Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire!

Polly Horvath's profile page


  • Nominated, Chocolate Lily Award
  • Nominated, Snow Willow Award
  • Short-listed, National Chapter IODE Violet Downey Award
  • Short-listed, Governor General’s Literary Award - Young People’s Literature - Text

Editorial Reviews

A 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People's Literature Nominee
An honorable mention on Quill & Quire's Books of the Year list
A 2021 Bank Street Book of the Year

"With orphan stories there is a rule, of course: By the end, children must have a real guardian. Who that will be is one of the mysteries — and ultimate satisfactions — of this funny and rewarding novel.” —Wall Street Journal

"Horvath, ever respectful of the inner lives of children, has a way of incorporating moments of sweet hilarity into an account that makes the girls’ situation seem plausible. She doesn’t stint on vocabulary or on sophisticated observations, yet her narrative arc is direct and extraordinarily satisfying, with its emphasis on competence and survival of the domestic, familial, and emotional sort." —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

"Orphaned children and crotchety neighbours have long been popular fodder for children’s stories. In Pine Island Home, Polly Horvath brings these two elements together in a novel that is surprisingly fun and light (considering the protagonists’ parents are swept away in a tsunami) and peculiarly appealing (due to the unexpected and comical portrait of a mean drunk anti-hero)." —STARRED REVIEW, Quill & Quire

"Readers who have grown to love Newbery Honoree Horvath’s (Everything on a Waffle) slightly quirky characters and unique situations will not be disappointed by this suspenseful story . . . Horvath’s wide array of contrasting personalities adds humor and depth to the familiar premise of orphans forced to survive on their own." Publishers Weekly

"For those who like to settle into a comfy spot and spend quality time with spunky heroines and quirky supporting characters, Horvath’s latest certainly fits the bill." —Booklist
"This deserves a place in most libraries — Horvath hits the perfect notes of independence, adventure, and sentimentality, without being cloying." School Library Journal

"[R]eaders will be treated to a story featuring suspense, believable characters, a fully realized setting, and nuggets of Horvath wisdom." The Horn Book

"For those who like to settle into a comfy spot and spend quality time with spunky heroines and quirky supporting characters, Horvath’s latest certainly fits the bill." Booklist
"Horvath fans will recognize her recurring subject of kids outside of traditional adult care, and the book deftly balances a twenty-first century setting with a classic orphan-story feel. . . . Ultimately, it’s an appealing domestic survival story with a slice of reality, bound to appeal to youngsters who contemplate an adult-free life." Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"Beloved and highly lauded author Polly Horvath has brought her inimitable style and flair for humble hilarity to this tale of orphans attempting to survive on their own. . . . [A] marvelous romp that is both satisfying and genuinely heartwarming. Highly Recommended." —CM Magazine
"Horvath has once again created a family drama that is authentic and charming and wise, leaving readers hopeful that there will be more Pine Island tales to come." —CM: Canadian Review of Material

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