Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Fifteen-year-old Tim loves his job at his dad's pet store, partly because he gets to spend time with his best friend, a black cockatoo named Elmo. But things at work have been tense since the store moved to a larger, more expensive location. To make extra money his father rents out the store's exotic birds for parties and Tim is furious at this exploitation of his friend. When Elmo is stolen from one of the parties, the police are unconcerned about the theft. Tim and his new human friend, Sapna, set out to find Elmo and discover that Elmo is more valuable than they'd ever imagined.
About the author
MONIQUE POLAK is the author of 26 novels for young readers, as well as two non-fiction titles and a board book. Her books Hate Mail, Room for One More, and the historical novel What World is Left, which was inspired by her mother’s experience during the Holocaust, were all winners of the Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children’s and YA Literature.
Her books have also been nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the Arthur Ellis Award, and several have been selected as Best Books for Children and Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
She is also a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Macleans, and Postmedia newspapers across the country, and is a columnist on ICI Radio-Canada’s Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! Monique lives in Montreal, Quebec, where she teaches English and Humanities at Marianopolis College.
- Commended, CCBC Best Books
Excerpt: Finding Elmo (by (author) Monique Polak)
I've come up with a plan," Dad said.
Phew, I thought, relaxing a little. Dad was a smart guy. I should have known he'd come up with a plan. Maybe he wanted to hang a bigger sign outside the store or advertise on the radio.
But it wasn't that at all.
"I've agreed to start renting out the big birds," Dad said. For a second, I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. What was Dad thinking? "For parties and conventions. It's a good way to bring in extra cash--" Here, he paused for a moment.
"They want Elmo first.
"[The] fast-paced plot is sure to pull even the most reluctant of readers along in its wake."
"Polak presents the ethnic mix of a large urban centre in a matter-of-fact-way...The strongest part of Finding Elmo lies in the plot below the surface: the father-son relationship. Recommended."