DOGS OF WAR by Sheila Keenan


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Age Range: 9 - 12
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Three illustrated vignettes evince the deep bond between a man and his best friend in the midst of wartime.

Man’s best friend didn’t rest while he fought across the lines of battle during wartime. Focusing on three major wars—World War I, World War II and Vietnam—Keenan uses the graphic medium to show how dogs aided soldiers both physically and mentally. The opening piece, “Boots,” portrays a border collie in the trenches of Ypres in 1914 who is able to help sniff out wounded soldiers. When Boots and her young British handler find themselves facing the enemy on December 25, they take part in the famed Christmas truce. In “Loki,” the most thrilling offering, a strong-willed sled dog helps an American soldier serving in Greenland during World War II navigate perilous weather and impending enemy advancement. In the moving “Sheba,” an African-American soldier develops a strong bond with his scout dog during the Vietnam War—only to have her treated like a piece of equipment and wrenched from his life. The bonds between these men and their dogs are palpable; the visual component of this work adds a layer of pathos that shows just how strong the connection between man and dog can be. Keenan adroitly captures this work with her parting words, “Semper Fido!”; a truer tenet was never spoken.

A must for dog lovers and fans of military history and historical fiction. (author’s note, further reading) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-545-12887-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013


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