In the first of a new series about working dogs, Jax, a Great Pyrenees, describes his efforts to protect his flock of sheep through a long, scary night.
When the lead livestock guardian dog, Bev, is injured in a coyote attack, only Jax and a very youthful novice dog, Stormy, are left to protect their owner’s flock. After one of the ewes delivers a new lamb, things get even more complicated. Jax, brave and pragmatic, must try to keep a close eye on the defenseless pair while still making sure the flock is safe, never certain that he can rely on Stormy’s unproven judgment. Then a mountain lion begins to menace the sheep.…Jax’s matter-of-fact voice is both believable and highly informative, providing readers with a riveting step-by-step account of how livestock guardians are trained and how they do their work. Never lost in that enlightening presentation is the rising suspense generated by the large cat threatening the sheep—and the dogs. Rosa’s illustrations, a few for each short chapter, nicely enhance the text (and depict Jax’s human family as white). Considering that all of this is packaged in a slender volume intended for readers newly transitioned to chapter books, this is an outstanding effort, packed with interesting information but also too engrossing to put down. I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow, about a chocolate Lab who does avalanche rescue, publishes simultaneously.
A thrilling and very worthwhile choice for emergent readers. (Adventure. 6-9)