During his second mission in Afghanistan, Marine Corps intelligence collector Craig Grossi makes a discovery that changes everything.
In between attacks on his unit’s compound, Craig spots a dog searching the ruins for scraps of food. Although it’s filthy and bug-ridden, the little dog is joyful and friendly. In no time he has a name—Fred—and is accompanying the team on patrols, comforting the wounded, and winning the hearts of every Marine in the compound. As their tour draws to a close, Craig is desperate to rescue Fred from the war zone. The military’s rule on stray dogs is unflinching, but with the help of brave friends and loving family, both Craig and Fred return to the United States. Fred acclimates nicely to civilian life, but Craig cannot leave the war behind. Once again Fred’s boundless joy shines through, showing Craig the way back home. More than just a story of a man and his dog, this is a tale of joy eclipsing pain. Even in this young readers’ adaptation of his identically titled 2017 book for adults, Grossi’s portrayal of war is realistic. Death, violence, and fear are a constant in the battlefield, but Grossi manages to find humor in the midst of horror and life after loss. Several pages of snapshots of Fred are included at the book’s halfway point, and brief celebrations of two of Grossi’s slain comrades in arms appear at the end.
Positive, encouraging, and inspirational. (Memoir. 11-14)