A scrawny mutt is rescued in Paris by an American soldier during WWI, and the smart, intuitive Rags becomes a wartime hero.
The true story of the dog’s wartime service is told in dramatic style, with plenty of conflict on Parisian streets and on the battlefields of France. James Donovan, the private who rescues Rags, trains the dog to sniff out breaks in underground telephone lines and to deliver messages during combat. Both Donovan and Rags are injured in battle, and the faithful dog stays with Donovan in the hospital until the soldier’s death. An epilogue gives the story of the rest of the dog’s life with a military family in the United States. The story occasionally veers into overly emotional language and attributes anthropomorphic thoughts and emotions to the brilliant canine—an unnecessary choice given the inherent drama of the story. The book’s value is significantly elevated by superb illustrations in a muted palette of browns and grays, effectively bringing the efforts of the talented dog to life.
Young readers interested in dog or wartime stories will find Rags an appealing hero. (Picture book. 6-9)