by Margaret Davidson Book : Fiction : Juvenile audience
Five True Dog Stories   (2008-08-03)
ISBN 0590424017 - A fan of James Herriot and Lassie (among others!), I was excited to read true dog stories for children. And the inclusion of a talented "bad" dog, in Grip the thief, was a pleasant surprise.
Five very short dog stories, each told in a few pages. Dox, a police dog in Italy, is bought by a policeman who just happened to pass a pet store. He’d had no thought of buying a dog at all – but he did it, and then he turned him into a superb detective. Grip, owned by a thief and a successful thief himself, leads a life of crime until his owner is caught and Grip gets a surprising new owner. Author Alfred Payson Terhune’s dog, Wolf, lives with many other dogs at Sunnybank Farm. He isn’t very sociable, but he does watch out for the other dogs, right up to the very end. Barry is one of the very special St Bernards living at a monastery in Switzerland. The dogs are trained to rescue people, and Barry is even a little more special than the others. Balto is a sled dog in Alaska when Nome calls out to the outside world for help. They need medicine and the only way in is by sled. The town is in terrible trouble, but Balto comes to their rescue.
The stories are all true, and the reader can follow up most of them by reading longer books and stories about these dogs. That’s a nice thing, a way to encourage reading, and answer some questions that the book leaves unanswered - like why there’s a statue of Balto in New York, when his heroic actions were in Alaska. Not superbly written, but the author is hampered by the attempt to keep the stories short. The back cover says RL2, ages 7-9, and that’s the only thing I have to disagree there. The stories seem to me to be better suited for younger children. (copyright, AnnaLovesBooks, 2008)
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