Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-RudmanMuch more than just an interesting middle-grade resource, Judith Janda Presnall's Sled Dogs is filled with breathtaking photographs of sled dogs in harsh terrain, historical photographs of polar explorers, and insightful details that will delight anyone interested in the arctic dog breeds. This comprehensive title's four chapters explore the history, outstanding accomplishments, training, and daily life of sled dogs. The chapter about "Sled Dog Training" includes a description of a ritual-welcoming ceremony for puppies joining Inuit (Eskimos) homes, since the dogs are integral to the people's survival. Puppies are massaged to build strength, their ears pulled and whispered into to make their hearing keen, breath blown into their nostrils to make them keen-scented "and able to follow a trail, and to discover seal holes under the snow." Graphic depictions of sled dog hitches, races, and the Klondike gold rush, are just some of the illustrations that create an entertaining and fast-paced reading experience. The well-known story of Balto and the heroic "serum route" that saved 11,000 Alaskans from diphtheria is discussed, as well as the lesser-known South Pole expedition of Roald Amundsen. Amundsen, the South Pole's first human visitor, began his journey with ninety-seven dogs and ended with eleven, due to planned massacres which kept dogs and men alive and able to reach their destination. Bold glossary terms appear throughout, as well as concise reference notes pertaining to a "Glossary" and "Bibliography" at the back of the book. Detailed lists of sled dog organizations, books, and web sites "For Further Exploration" are included and are excellent resources for independent study.This title is part of the "Animals with Jobs" set of books supporting life sciences studies. Titles in this series detail why and how certain animals are selected for jobs, how they are trained, what they do, and where they go after their workday ends.
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