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Piper Reed, Navy Brat

Piper Reed, Navy Brat

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Piper Reed, Navy Brat

4.5/5 (4 ratings)
122 pages
1 hour
Mar 29, 2011


Based on her own childhood experience, Kimberly Willis Holt's Piper Reed, Navy Brat portrays the life of a Navy family with warmth and humor.

It's not easy being the middle child, especially when your dad is a Navy Chief. Meet Piper Reed, a spunky nine-year-old who has moved more times than she can count on one hand. From Texas to Guam, wherever Piper goes, adventure follows, inspired by her active imagination, free-wheeling spirit, and a bit of sister magic. Unlike her older sister, Piper loves being part of a Navy family, and unlike her little sister, Piper is no prodigy genius. Piper is Piper—fearless and full of life.

Mar 29, 2011

About the author

Twenty three years ago Kimberly Willis Holt stopped talking about wanting to be a writer and started to pursue her dream. Because of her family's Louisiana roots she considers herself a southerner, but her father's military career took her to places beyond the South, including Paris and Guam. She's the author of more than fifteen books for a wide range of ages, many of which have won awards and honors. Her third novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She writes and gardens in Texas.

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Piper Reed, Navy Brat - Kimberly Willis Holt




It was pizza night. Every Friday night, Chief picked up two large pepperoni pizzas on his way home from the base. I had just pulled the cheese off my slice and was about to put the pepperoni back on when Chief tapped a spoon against his glass of sweet tea.

Ting, ting, ting. Girls, I have an announcement to make.

Are we going to get a dog? I asked.

Chief grinned, and then shook his head. We’ve been assigned to Pensacola, Florida.

Chief always said we when he talked about being assigned somewhere even though he was really the only person in the family being assigned to a new base. He would say, When a man joins the Navy, his family joins the Navy.

That’s because every year or two we had to pick up and move. I’ve lived everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. Before we moved to San Diego, we lived in Texas, Guam, Mississippi, and New Hampshire.

Everyone in my fourth-grade class called me Piper Reed, Navy Brat. I didn’t mind, but my big sister, Tori, who was in the seventh grade, did. In fact, she didn’t want Chief to be in the Navy. She wouldn’t even call him Chief. She called him Dad.

Pensacola? Tori looked like her eyes were going to pop out of their sockets.

When? I asked.

Two weeks from today, Chief said.

Two weeks! cried Tori. It’s only October. We’ve never moved during the school year!

We always moved in the summer. That gave us a chance to make some friends before school started. Suddenly I felt like a fish was swimming around in my belly.

Tori pushed her plate away. The Navy is ruining my life!

Tori, Mom said, stop being dramatic. Everything will be fine.

Where’s Pepsi-Cola? asked my little sister, Sam.

Mom smiled. In Florida. Now, finish your pizza and I’ll show you where Pensacola is on the map.

When we moved here, Mom had tacked a great big map of the world on the back studio wall. She said, You’re children of the world.You might as well get to know it.

I don’t want to eat my pizza, said Sam.

I don’t want to move, said Tori.

Sorry, Chief said. That’s the Navy life.

Tori folded her arms across her chest. Well, when I grow up, I’m not going to marry anyone in the Navy or the Army or the Air Force.

How about the Marines? I reminded her.

Or the Marines.

Don’t worry, I told her. No one will probably want to marry you anyway.

Tori burst into tears and ran out of the kitchen. A second later her bedroom door slammed.

Mom shook her head. Piper Reed.

I didn’t say she was fat!

My sister really wasn’t fat, even though I sometimes called her that. She was a little chubby though. The last time she got upset, she threatened to go on a hunger strike. She didn’t eat for two whole hours.

Mom stood. I’ll check on Tori. Piper, why don’t you help clean up?

Jeepers! I have to do the dishes just because I’m not a big crybaby? Besides it’s Tori’s turn.

Chief started stacking plates. Tell you what, Piper. Show Sam where Pensacola, Florida, is on the map and I’ll help your mom.

I saluted him. I was the only daughter who did that, too. My sisters needed to learn some respect. Chief may not be an officer, but he was the highest rank an enlisted man could be in the U.S. Navy. He fixed jets better than anyone. He even taught other people to do it.

Sam had a pile of pizza on her plate with the cheese missing. I hated cheese on my pizza, and that’s all Sam liked about it.

I took Sam by the hand. Come on.

Sam and I walked downstairs to Mom’s studio. It really wasn’t a studio, just a basement where Mom did her art. Mom lighted strawberry-scented candles whenever she worked down there, but I could still smell the fumes from her oil paints.

This was the first home where we lived that wasn’t on a military base. When we arrived in San Diego, Mom and Chief found an old gray house to rent with a big yard and a huge climbing tree. A tire swing hung from a low branch. Higher up, Chief had built a tree house. That’s where the Gypsy Club met.

I loved the tree house. Chief built it for all of us, but Tori hardly climbed up. And when she did, she never did anything fun. She’d just read a boring book or play Scrabble with one of her boring friends. Sam was only five and too little to climb up there unless Mom, Chief, or Tori went with her. So it was really like the tree house belonged to

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What people think about Piper Reed, Navy Brat

4 ratings / 4 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    This was a great start to a series for the younger grades. The three girls in this series are all kind of typical for younger grade series. This series, though only five books long, would give the reader something to distract them from Junie B. Jones and Gooney Bird Greene for a while.
  • (5/5)
    This 2009-2010 Bluebonnet book follows the life of Piper Reed who moves around a lot because her dad, Chief, is in the Navy. This particular story follows her family from Texas to Pensacola, Florida. She is dyslexic and that comes up a few times on the road trip to FL and at other times. She has two sisters, one is a prodigy and the little one provides comic relief, in addition to the comedic ways of Piper. We watch Piper get a dog and meet new friends and adjust to moving once again. This would be a great book to share with students that move a lot and certainly many kids can relate. Piper is always involved in some type of shenanigans which makes this a fun read.
  • (4/5)
    Piper Reed is quite the whiuppersnapper character, full of fun, teasing, sassiness and samrts. She is the middle sister of three, in a navy family that moves a lot. Her father is a chief in the navy and is gone for long stretches of time, during which the family really misses him alot. Piper must contend with beginning and ending school at times that others don't. She is constantly making and leaving friends. This hardship and the hardship of her absent father is buffered by the loving family life Piper enjoys, where each member is open, expressive, and forgiving. This is a book to be enjoed by all, perhaps esspecially by military kids or those who have recently moved or are planning to.
  • (4/5)
    Piper Reed's father, the Chief, has been transferred again, so the family is moving from California to Florida. Piper and her sisters have never moved in the middle of a school year before, and it's not always easy to fit in. Especially when your new house is small with no tree house, you have to share a room with your little sister, and there's only one bathroom.Still, after a long road trip, Piper has plans to start a whole new Gypsy club (too bad she promised them a real Gypsy!) and make Pensacola the best posting yet!Piper is an excellent middle child, full of life and optimism. I especially appreciated the way Holt portrays her dyslexia, making it part of her, but not a defining part of her character.Christine Davenier's black and white drawings are full of motion and great facial expression.