SAVING ZASHA by Randi Barrow


Age Range: 10 - 14
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In an evocatively realized post–World War II Russia, as some of the severe hardships of war are receding, 13-year-old Mikhail, his older brother, younger sister and mother are suddenly faced with a new peril when they decide to keep a beautiful female German shepherd after its owner dies. They must hide her carefully. The few dogs remaining after the brutal war have become targets for unscrupulous thieves, while anything even vaguely German is liable to be destroyed by authorities or an angry public. The nosy daughter of the local newspaper owner is relentless in her determination to discover the secret she’s certain they’re hiding. Each new threat effectively heightens the sense of danger, making this a page-turner. A parallel story—the Russian Army’s attempt to develop a uniquely Russian breed of working dog—weaves through the account of the family’s efforts to protect an innocent pet. Some of the specific atrocities of war suffered by dogs are briefly described. A highly engaging and ultimately hopeful animal story with a strong sense of time and place. (Historical fiction. 10-14)


Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-20632-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2010


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