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Iditarod Dream: Dusty and His Sled Dogs Compete in Alaska's Jr. Iditarod

Iditarod Dream: Dusty and His Sled Dogs Compete in Alaska's Jr. Iditarod

by Ted Wood

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Relates the story of the fifteen-year-old Alaskan boy and his dogs as they prepare for and then run the 158-mile course of the Junior Iditarod Race.


Relates the story of the fifteen-year-old Alaskan boy and his dogs as they prepare for and then run the 158-mile course of the Junior Iditarod Race.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This appealing photo-essay details the story of a 15-year-old Alaskan boy as he prepares for and races the 158-mile course of the Junior Iditarod. Clear, close-up photographs...interesting information...A good choice for classes studing artic regions.” —Booklist
Publishers Weekly
Readers follow a 15-year-old boy, winner of the two-day, 158-mile Jr. Iditarod, in this photo-essay. "Dusty's stamina, courage and sportsmanship shine through," wrote PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gary Paulsen fans might like to imagine themselves as this photo-essay's hero: 15-year-old Dusty Whittemore, winner of the 1995 Jr. Iditarod. Open to mushers between the ages of 14 and 17, the two-day race follows a 158-mile leg of the grueling, 1200-mile Iditarod course between Anchorage and Nome. Wood (A Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee) follows Dusty from his log cabin home (shared with parents and their 17 sled dogs) to his school (he is the only boy in the six-student high school in his tiny Alaskan town), then watches him enter and run the race with his 10 trusty dogs. Large color photographs capture workaday paraphernalia: the sled, travel crates, lines, lists and maps, giant boots and puffy jackets, etc. Shots of the race and of the dogs give a sense of the physical obstacles, especially the endless snow and ice, and convey Dusty's rapport with the dogs, but few are crisp or intimate enough to suggest the thrill of it all. Rolling at a uniform pace, the evenly modulated prose muffles the excitement of winning under informative details. Even so, Dusty's stamina, courage and sportsmanship will shine through to young readers in the lower 48. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Leslie Verzi Julian
Every young person has a dream. Dusty's requires discipline, fortitude, and a winning spirit. A native of Alaska, Dusty follows his family's tradition of dog racing. We follow him along every icy turn on his second Junior Iditarod. The courage of both this young man and his loyal team should inspire other young dreamers. The photography gives us a feel for the detail involved in this adventure.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Fifteen-year-old Dusty Whittemore had an Iditarod dream-to win the 158-mile Jr. Iditarod which is modeled after the 1180-mile race for adults. He had come in fourth in 1994. In preparation for the 1995 race, the Alaskan teen and his ten huskies trained three days a week on a local training loop, on 50-mile trails weekends, and raced an all-terrain vehicle down the highway on snowless summer days. Musher and mushees became as close as siblings, devoted to each other and to racing. Photojournalist Ted Wood followed Dusty and his dogs from a day before the event through the arduous two-day race and its successful conclusion. Chin-Yee Lai's book design transforms words and photographs into a vividly absorbing and inspiring record of a hard-working, determined young man's quest for the "gold"-which in this instance included a thousand-dollar college scholarship.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 UpThis beautiful photo essay follows 15-year-old Dusty Whittemore of Cantwell, AK, through the 1995 Jr. Iditarod Sled Dog Race158 miles from Lake Lucille to Yentna and back. A brief history of the original Iditarod plus two maps, one of the adult race route and the larger one of the Junior Sled Dog Race, begin the essay. Unfortunately, some of this introductory information is incorrect, but the errors do not deter readers from seeing what it's like to be involved in dog mushing firsthand. Dusty is an excellent model of a young Alaskan athlete, and the text shows his concern for his dogs, his "trusted partners," and his love for the sport. A nice addition is an inside view of family life and schooling in rural Alaska. The full-color photography is outstanding, capturing the whiteness of the terrain and the hardiness of those who challenge the wilderness in this popular winter sport. This book will appeal to anyone who yearns for an armchair modern day Alaskan adventure. Plus, how many books in the 798's do you have on dog mushing?Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK
Kirkus Reviews
A detailed, carefully written account of a 15-year-old boy's participation in the Junior Iditarod in Alaska, with large, colorful, action-packed photographs of the race. Readers learn of the origins of the original Iditarod as well as the more recent junior race, then follow Dusty through his preparations for the 158-mile journey, learning all about dogs and sleds along the way. Wood (with Guy Garcia, Spirit of the Maya, 1995, etc.) keeps the pace brisk and fills the pages with snow scenes, delivering a lot of information, organized in an engaging way. An attractive volume that captures the thrill of the race and comes with a bonus—Dusty takes first place.

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
10.97(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.19(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ted Wood has published a number of highly praised photoessays for Walker & Company, including Iditarod Dream; Spirit of the Maya; Two Lands, One Heart; and Ghosts of the West Coast. Ted lives in Jackson, Wyoming, and Boulder, Colorado.

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