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First Dog Fala

First Dog Fala

5.0 1
by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, Michael G. Montgomery (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
As a combination of history and storytelling, this book is sure to be enjoyed by both young children and adults. Fala was known to all Americans during the years of Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, but the facts presented here are likely to be a revelation to most readers. Since Fala was a black Scottish terrier, he was named "Murray, the Outlaw of Fala Hill" in honor of one of Roosevelt's ancestors. That was certainly too much of a name, so it was soon shortened to just Fala. He became Roosevelt's constant companion and was often in the Oval Office. He demanded his share of attention by whistling through his nose until visitors "scratched his back or threw a ball for him to chase across the office." Fala often escaped his outdoor fenced-in area to trot around Washington. It is still not known how he managed to steal away. Fala outlived Roosevelt. When he died in 1952, he was buried near Roosevelt's grave in Hyde Park. The beautiful oil illustrations are a wonderful addition to the book and perfectly capture the close relationship between Roosevelt and his dog. Additionally, the black and white sketches of Fala on every other page and on the endpapers flawlessly demonstrate his marvelous personality. Purchase this book and see how popular it is certain to become. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
Kirkus Reviews
Fala has to be one of the best known of presidential pets, the dedicated companion of Franklin Roosevelt throughout the World War II years of his presidency. The Scottish terrier was presented to Roosevelt as a puppy and outlived him by several years, but this effort follows Fala just through the end of Roosevelt's life, making the book more a brief biography of the president during the war than of his pet. Each spread contains a few paragraphs of text accompanied by Montgomery's quick pencil vignettes and a large, Fala-centered oil-on-canvas illustration, rendered in warm, muted colors that capture the somber mood of the times. Fala is charming in the illustrations, although those that show Roosevelt don't quite capture his facial appearance. As a very brief biography, the book works well: The inclusion of the pet story makes it palatable for younger readers who aren't looking for a history lesson, but it also decreases the amount of information that can be included about Roosevelt. Taken together, an engaging package. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Product Details

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.20(d)
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Customer Reviews

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First Dog Fala 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be engaging and quite entertaining. Even as a young adult, I still enjoy a good picture book. This one is definitely top notch! The author creatively tells the story, easy enough for young readers to understand, while getting all the major facts in there about President Franklin Roosevelt's life and his dog Fala. Since a cute Scottish terrier is the main character of the book, it engages the imaginations of little ones, even though they're really learning historical facts. In addition to the wonderful writing, there are, of course, the delightful illustrations! Oh, how I love all the pictures. With such detail and color, I found myself looking through the entire book again and again, just to remind myself how cute Fala is illustrated! This is an absolutely adorable book, and you simply must read it with your children or little siblings.