Wartime adventure with plenty of heart.


From the Dog Chronicles series , Vol. 1

Darling, a rambunctious family dog, is drafted to serve in the British Army during World War I.

The dog’s-eye view offers a unique look at the lives of both two-footed and four-footed soldiers fighting at the front. Darling, desperate to return home, looks for every opportunity to run away, but when she happens upon a wounded soldier, she also discovers her true calling as a “mercy dog,” searching out soldiers in need. Other dogs in her regiment are trained as messengers, scouts or sentries. Dogs travel with their handlers through France and Belgium toward their ultimate destination: no man’s land. Darling quickly learns the brutality of war, watching dogs and soldiers die on both sides of the battlefield. She notes that the hated Germans are barely older than the children she left behind at home. The simple narrative is detailed but never graphic. Specifics about weapons and geography often outpace a dog’s understanding, but this break in narration is only occasionally distracting. While never shying away from the tragedies of battle, Darling’s story focuses on bravery, sacrifice and devotion. Finely detailed pencil sketches and an afterword explaining the history behind the story are included.

Wartime adventure with plenty of heart. (Historical fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-705-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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