Flowers (Alone Across the Arctic, 2011) is a sled-dog musher in Alaska. Her attachment to her loyal and hardworking dogs is unmistakable.
She introduces readers to some of her favorite canine friends, each chapter offering in clear, engaging prose another portrait of a treasured dog. There’s Amy, who accidentally fell through the ice in an isolated spot and remained lost until Flowers stumbled upon her freezing pet, patiently standing deep in an icy stream for 24 hours, trusting in her eventual rescue. She describes Jocko, a dog who pays perfect attention to her commands—until she mistakenly tells him to do something dangerous, and then he wisely ignores her. She tells of a bullying dog that picks on his harness mate relentlessly until that dog finally firmly puts him in his place, and then in an interesting twist, she relates that effective dog behavior to human bullying situations. Baskin’s pen-and-ink illustrations nicely capture the flavor of the text, with the canines’ facial expressions reflecting the appropriate and touching anthropomorphizing nature of the tales. These dog stories are so clearly based on love and respect and include many details about long, arduous and thrilling journeys across the Arctic landscape, that they are sure to entertain and perhaps even inspire readers.
A must-read—and reread—for all animal lovers. (Nonfiction. 10-15)