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by Dirk Wales & illustrated by Barry Moser

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-96324593-9

Based on an episode from writer Jack London’s life, this is a tale of a Yukon dog named Jack, which London may have known during his brief participation in the Alaskan gold rush. As the story begins, London meets the big dog and they spend the short days and long nights of the Alaskan winter together. When London falls ill and returns to California, he leaves Jack in the North Country to other masters, and the story cuts back and forth from the exploits of the dog to scenes of London writing The Call of the Wild. Jack the dog achieves a measure of fame for heroically saving two people caught in avalanches, while Jack the author does likewise with his writing. Overwrought, amateurish prose drags the narrative down: “The snow formed a white tongue, lashing down the slopes driven by the wind as if the wind itself was after something or someone, though there was no person or animal to be seen.” Moser’s lovely engravings and a generally high production value give this volume visual interest, but that’s not enough to rescue the whole. (Historical fiction. 10-14)