A white boy’s love for a dog crosses social divisions in this World War II story.
It’s New Orleans in the 1940s. World War II is raging, Jim Crow laws are in effect, and neighbors sit on front porches seeking respite from the heat. Fish Elliott and his sister, Mo, are anxiously awaiting the return of their father from Europe and dreading the daily rounds of the telegram delivery boy. Whether it is a rabbit trap designed to save his neighbor’s victory garden or a contraption he uses to strengthen his polio-damaged leg, Fish loves to invent things. In a world where women are not allowed to be engineers, blacks and whites go to separate schools, and Germans are seen as evil, Fish’s inventions help bridge gender, racial, and culture divides. When Fish and his African-American neighbor Olympia find a stray hound, they are determined to take her in. But when an unscrupulous neighbor steals her, they need the help of a German POW to rescue her and her newborn pups. In this companion to Duke (2013) and Dash (2014), Larson once again creates an engaging story that is rich in historical details. She purposefully captures both the fear and the hope in a world torn by war as well as the simple love of a boy for his dog.
Practically perfect. (Historical fiction. 8-12)