Nineteen famous dogs from Alaska are introduced through short profiles in this illustrated look at some courageous canines.
The most well-known dogs profiled are Balto and Togo, both leaders of dog-sled teams. The two dogs participated in the famous rescue operation in 1925 that brought serum from Anchorage to Nome to treat a diphtheria outbreak. Tramp and Red were a pair of sled dogs in the 1950s who protected their owners from an attacking bear. Other profiled dogs of the past include a bull terrier that was a pet of the entire town of Juneau and a dog that traveled with the naturalist John Muir in 1880. Modern canine profiles include several exemplary sled dogs and two heroic German shepherds. The book’s organization is confusing as it is not chronological, and the profiles jump among historical dogs and modern ones. Terms are not always clearly defined within context or are explained several pages after the first use. A map of Alaska with the locations of towns and dog races would have been helpful, along with a diagram of a dog-sled team and a glossary of key terms. Attractive, full-page illustrations of the dogs are the book’s best feature, with several of the canines running or leaping through the air in rescue mode.
Of primary interest to Alaskan readers. (Nonfiction. 6-10)