Dogs of War

( 2 )

Overview


Sheila Keenan's captivating stories, paired with Nathan Fox's stunning art, bring the heroic military actions of man's best friend to life!

Some war heroes heard the wind whistling over a hidden trip wire.
Some war heroes sniffed out a sniper 1,000 yards away.
Some war heroes stood tall . . . on four legs!

DOGS OF WAR is a graphic novel that tells the stories of the canine ...

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Overview


Sheila Keenan's captivating stories, paired with Nathan Fox's stunning art, bring the heroic military actions of man's best friend to life!

Some war heroes heard the wind whistling over a hidden trip wire.
Some war heroes sniffed out a sniper 1,000 yards away.
Some war heroes stood tall . . . on four legs!

DOGS OF WAR is a graphic novel that tells the stories of the canine military heroes of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. This collection of three fictional stories was inspired by historic battles and real military practice. Each story tells the remarkable adventures of a soldier and his service dog and is rendered with fascinating and beautiful detail, bringing to life the faithful dogs who braved bombs, barrages, and battles to save the lives of countless soldiers.

Based on the real-life roles of military dogs that served as Red Cross rescuers, messengers, scouts, search-and-rescue teams, sentries, and mascots, DOGS OF WAR captures both the adventure and the devastation brought on by war, as well as the celebrations of life and friendship between boys and their dogs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/23/2013
In one of this graphic novel’s three short stories, Henry, a lonely African-American boy, befriends a Vietnam vet named Lanford. With difficulty, Lanford tells Henry about Sheba, his scout dog patrol mate. “Army rules,” Lanford recalls bitterly. “Dogs are equipment, like your gun or your ammo.” All three of the story’s dog heroes make it through combat alive, as do their handlers. Yet Keenan (Greetings from the 50 States) doesn’t flinch from the terrors they face, and neither does Fox’s traditional comic book–style artwork. The first episode is set during WWI, as a 16-year-old orphan and his border collie survive trench warfare; the second follows new recruit Cooper and feisty Husky Loki as they are chased by Nazis through a blizzard; the third belongs to Lanford and Henry (and Sheba). All are crammed with action and emotion. Ages 8–12. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Raina Sedore
Military history, a variety of international settings, and animal adventure combine to tell three stories of working dogs during three different wars in the 20th century. We meet Boots, a mercy dog in World War I; Loki, a sled dog at an intelligence station in Greenland during World War II; and Sheba, a scout dog during the Vietnam War. Each story explores a different aspect of wartime, as well as (to varying degrees) some of the controversial issues of each war. The relationships between the dogs and the humans who work with them are affecting, and while the illustrations look overly busy at first glance, the textures and colors work well to tell each story in turn. Readers looking for animal-based stories, history lessons, and military settings will eat this book up. This will be a great addition to library graphic novel collections for young readers. Reviewer: Raina Sedore
School Library Journal
★ 11/01/2013
Gr 5 Up—Keenan has created an exhilarating and suspenseful set of stories about three soldiers and their dogs while also giving a general overview of different wars and touching on some period political and cultural events. Donnie and his dog, Boots, are medics lost deep in the trenches of World War I, trying to find their platoon. Rescuers stationed in Greenland, Cooper and his dog, Loki, are sent to save a downed World War II pilot. The book ends with the compelling story of Lanford, a vet back from Vietnam suffering from flashbacks of his scout dog, Sheba. These relationships feel genuine and are well developed, showing the training process and the reliance each one had with the other in order to stay alive. By the end, readers will feel that these dogs were not just helpers, but true soldiers worthy of honor. Fox's illustrations do a wonderful job of showing the devastating nature of these conflicts without sensationalized violence. The backgrounds are exceptional, showing the extremes of each story's harsh and dangerous environment. A prologue gives more information about each war and a history of solider dogs up to present day. This stunning graphic novel will be a hit with reluctant readers and history lovers.—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI
From the Publisher

School Library Journal Starred Review
Keenan has created an exhilarating and suspenseful set of stories about three soldiers and their dogs while also giving a general overview of different wars and touching on some period political and cultural events. Donnie and his dog, Boots, are medics lost deep in the trenches of World War I, trying to find their platoon. Rescuers stationed in Greenland, Cooper and his dog, Loki, are sent to save a downed World War II pilot. The book ends with the compelling story of Lanford, a vet back from Vietnam suffering from flashbacks of his scout dog, Sheba. These relationships feel genuine and are well developed, showing the training process and the reliance each one had with the  other in order to stay alive. By the end, readers will feel that these dogs were not just helpers, but true soldiers worthy of honor. Fox’s illustrations do a wonderful job of showing the devastating nature of these conflicts without sensationalized violence. The backgrounds are exceptional, showing the extremes of each story’s harsh and dangerous environment. A prologue gives more information about each war and a history of solider dogs up to present day. This stunning graphic novel will be a hit with reluctant readers and history lovers.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Starred Review
The title may prioritize dogs, but these three historical fiction stories in this graphic novel actually focus more strongly on the men who served with those dogs in three different wars. In “Boots,” sixteen-year-old Marcellinus McDonald is a doctor’s assistant on the Western Front in 1914, and Boots is his beloved “mercy dog,” who finds the wounded in No Man’s Land. “Loki” is a sled dog in a rescue unit stationed in 1942 Greenland, where his master relies on him in a solo encounter with some reconnoitering Nazis. The final story, “Sheba,” follows young Henry in 1968 North Carolina as his struggles with his obstreperous beagle pup bring him friendship with a recently returned Vietnam vet haunted by his experience on patrol with his German shepherd, Sheba. Keenan creates vivid voices for her characters, effectively tucking in exposition to convey information about everything from military objectives to daily life details in three very different situations. There’s action aplenty, but the rhythms and trajectories vary effectively: “Boots” is a classic story of the Christmas Truce; “Loki” is an adventure tale of intelligence and hand-to-hand combat; “Sheba,” which could stand alone as a book in its own right, is a poignant tale of male bonding between a young fatherless African-American boy and a black soldier overwhelmed by his experiences. Though the chaos of the action scenes can make them difficult to read, the art is atmospheric and effective, blending cinematic heroism, especially in the portraits of the dogs, with often daunting realism. Diehard warmongers, dog fans, and graphic-novel readers will all find something new here, and this will be an easy booktalk to readers reluctant and otherwise. 

VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Lisa Martincik
Boots chases rats and helps to locate wounded soldiers in the trenches of World War I. Loki ensures the rescue of a pilot from a snowy Greenland crash-site in World War II. Bouncer reminds Lanford of his jungle days in Viet Nam and of the faithful dog he had to leave behind like a piece of equipment. Dogs have, for centuries, played varied roles in warfare, and reading their stories in this graphic novel reveals their relationships with their human co-participants and the cost of war for both. Keenan’s trilogy of war stories centers on dogs but serves as a gateway to examine warfare in general, and three wars in particular. The first story focuses on the cramped, muddy, and generally deadly conditions of the Ypres trenches, and shows the enemy as human. The second takes place in a location not often associated with WWII and, again, stresses the importance of camaraderie and teamwork, this time in a setting where sled dogs are crucial to basic survival. The final tale is a modern story of a young boy and his dog getting to know a veteran, with flashbacks showing the toll of combat and loss. Each setting is well-researched and offers historical as well as psychological insight. Fox’s color art imbues each dog with personality without rendering them anthropomorphic, and provides rich atmosphere to each setting. Back matter includes the author’s note about military working dogs (MWDs) and lists for further reading and viewing. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545128889
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 92,924
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: GN490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Sheila Keenan is the author of many nonfiction books, including GREETINGS FROM THE 50 STATES; ANIMALS IN THE HOUSE; O, SAY CAN YOU SEE?; GODS, GODDESSES, AND MONSTERS; and the SCHOLASTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES. She lives in New York City.

Nathan Fox is an illustrator and storyteller whose work has appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES, the NEW YORKER, ROLLING STONE, WIRED, and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, among others. His work has also been published by DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Marvel. He lives with his family in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    This book drew a multitude of readers in. The pictures are fabul

    This book drew a multitude of readers in. The pictures are fabulous and give readers a sense of action and enhance the story lines. This a good book especially for students who are so often bored with text only historical books. Pictures keep the reader's attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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