Military service dogs perform a variety of roles, but those trained to sniff out IEDs are the primary focus of this effort.
Like so many recent nonfiction works for young adults, this is a reworked version of a recent adult publication, also called War Dogs (2015). Frankel begins many chapters with brief, engaging narrative descriptions of war-dog missions or training episodes, then turns her attention to the details of the stories. Included are sad descriptions of missions that resulted in the deaths of dogs or handlers. One long section focuses on the extensive dog and handler training that goes on in a “K-9 village,” a realistic mock-up of an Iraqi town at the Yuma Proving Ground. There’s a proliferation of acronyms and initialisms, all included in a list in the extensive backmatter, and their use adds military flavor to the story that may appeal to some readers, but the sheer profusion of them can overwhelm. The volume is but lightly redacted (a reference to a dog as a “nasty little bitch” in the book for adults is prudishly absent here); the most striking difference involves the breaking up of the text into many more chapters than in the adult volume and integrating photographs into the narrative rather than isolating them in an insert. Sentence length and structure are not noticeably simplified for a young audience.
Although fascinating, this lengthy effort seems nearly interchangeable with the adult version. (Nonfiction. 12-16)