Judy, an English pointer caught up in World War II, formed a solid bond with a young British airman, Frank Williams, and exhibited remarkable heroism.
Judy was hated by the Japanese who ran the prison camp where she and Frank were held for over three years, so he taught her how to keep out of their sight. Yet time after time, she risked her life to protect the prisoners and is credited with saving many lives. During one harrowing episode, the ship the Japanese were using to transport the prisoners was torpedoed. Frank pushed her out a porthole and was later able to save himself. In the water, Judy dragged one drowning man after another to safety. This adaptation of the original book for adults, also titled No Better Friend (2015), includes numerous lengthy sidebars, written for the young readers’ edition, that are interesting and informative but unnecessarily interrupt the flow of the narrative with an annoying frequency. More useful are the many period photographs included. The brutality—near-starvation diet, rampant disease, frequent beatings, etc.—that characterized the prisoner-of-war camps in the Pacific theater is not minimized, but the focus of the story is more on the traits that made Judy such an extraordinary and meritorious canine and the attachment that she shared with Frank.
A riveting and highly moving dog story that’s marred by clumsy design. (Nonfiction. 11-18)