Affable sled dog Togo leads readers through his puppyhood, his racing career and “The Balto Business.”
Balto the sled dog became a household name after the Serum Run of 1925, in which medicine for a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska, was transported via dog sled. According to musher Leonhard Seppala, however, the true hero was Togo, who led Seppala’s team much farther than Balto had done. Here, Togo narrates his life story in an accessible voice full of warmth and folksy idioms. In addition to Togo’s time as a “furry-faced little brat” of a puppy, readers see him learn to lead a sled-dog team, race along the Sweepstakes Trail, deliver the famous serum and finally reach old age. Togo’s point of view is believably doglike. He is touchingly loyal to Seppala, motivated to work hard and win races by his desire to please his musher. The dogs’ communication with one another and with people is represented by italicized dialogue, but it is made reasonably clear that the “talking” happens in the language of barks and nips and howls. A substantial appendix gives information about Siberian huskies, the Iditarod and the historical facts behind Togo’s tale.
An informative historical narrative with heart. (appendix.) (Historical fiction. 8-12)