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Togo
     

Togo

4.6 6
by Robert J. Blake
 
Togo wasn't meant to be a sled dog. He was too feisty and independent to make a good team member, let alone a leader. But Togo is determined, and when his trainer, Leonhard Seppala, gives him a chance, he soon becomes one of the fastest sled dogs in history! His skills are put to the ultimate test, though, when Seppala and his team are called on to make the now-famous

Overview

Togo wasn't meant to be a sled dog. He was too feisty and independent to make a good team member, let alone a leader. But Togo is determined, and when his trainer, Leonhard Seppala, gives him a chance, he soon becomes one of the fastest sled dogs in history! His skills are put to the ultimate test, though, when Seppala and his team are called on to make the now-famous run across the frozen Arctic to deliver the serum that will save Alaska from a life-threatening outbreak of diphtheria.

In the style of Akiak, winner of the Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, along with five state awards, Robert J. Blake's detailed, carefully researched oil paintings complete the story of the adventure that inspired the internationally famous Iditarod race.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Togo is a spirited puppy, determined to be a sled dog even though his owner, Leonhard Seppala, does not think he has what it takes. He's small for a Siberian husky, and much too independent. When he is only eight months old, he breaks through a fence and finds his owner's team on a supply run; it takes only a day for him to prove himself as a musher. Soon the young dog is leading his team in races, and breaking speed records every time. When Togo is eight years old, Seppala is asked to make an emergency relay run to pick up a serum that can stop the diphtheria epidemic threatening the entire population of Nome, AK. Togo leads his team over 350 miles through storms, suffering terribly, and with almost no rest. While it is another dog, Balto, that became famous for the serum run of 1925, he actually led the final team in the relay, running 53 miles. Many people feel that Togo is an unsung hero, and so will readers, who will feel the terrible cold depicted chillingly in Blake's paintings. The urgency and desperation come across clearly in both the dramatic text and the full-page impressionistic paintings. The dogs are not anthropomorphized, but their expressions are haunting. Pair this first-rate historical adventure with Natalie Standiford's The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Random, 1989) or with Blake's Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod (Philomel, 1997).-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL
Kirkus Reviews
The cover of this long picture book is a showstopper, with the entire spread showing just the face of a snowy dog with intense, pale-blue eyes, along with the single title word and the author’s name. Who could resist opening it to find out who Togo is? In a dramatic story based on a real event, Blake (Fledgling, 2000, etc.) recounts the historic rescue mission undertaken in 1925 Alaska by Leonhard Seppala and his lead sled dog, Togo. Seppala, owner of the fastest sled-dog team in Alaska, lived in Nome during an outbreak of diphtheria, and he was asked to travel by dogsled to a town 300 miles away to pick up serum to fight the diphtheria outbreak. Togo, a brilliant, perceptive dog, successfully led Seppala’s team during this mission, which was accomplished in just a few days. The dog that finished the journey, Balto, is the dog most children know, but Togo made that finish possible and the entire run inspired today’s Iditarod. Blake begins with the heartwarming story of Togo’s younger days, when he proved himself a worthy lead dog, followed by the dramatic, harrowing tale of the desperate rush for the serum. ("Diphtheria" and "serum" aren’t defined in the text, but their meanings should be clear.) Blake’s arresting oil paintings add greatly to the well-told tale, capturing the personality of the special dog. Some paintings show panoramic snow-covered vistas, others show the dogs in action, with thick white strokes of paint often representing the falling snow. A map on the endpapers enables the reader to follow the progress of the rescue mission, which they will—breathlessly. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399233814
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
121,524
Product dimensions:
8.56(w) x 11.31(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."

Customer Reviews

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Togo 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Huskies4Lifes More than 1 year ago
Finally, the truth come out! Balto may get the glory for running the last 53 miles into Nome, but Togo and his team pulled over 350 miles when a member from the serum run dropped out. There should be a statue for Togo, not Balto in New York! Beautiful illustrations, almost makes you cry!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this review i almost cried i think all of these dogs should be credited for this amazing adventer that took place many years ago. If it weren't for any of them nobody would of made it thourgh that. So I think they should put up another statue decatieding it to all of those four legged heros they deserive most of all they worked long thourgh and risked their lives for some one elses sincerly Dsingingdevi@msn.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Blake does his homework, writes a beautiful story and even paints the illustrations in this beautiful children's book. Togo is a heart-rending story about the Siberian husky some folks believe was given short shrift after the Great Serum Race of 1925. Togo, his handler, Leonhard Seppala, and his team of brave sled dogs ran a total of 260 miles, farther than any team of dogs during the dramatic race against time to get diphtheria vaccine to Nome in January, 1925. The book includes a map of the trail that begins in Anchorage where the serum is loaded onto a train and taken to the end of the line in Nenana. There the dogsleds take over. Seppala and his team leave Nome headed for Nulato, 300 miles from Nome, where they are to pick up the serum and take it back to Nome. They race through a raging winter storm for three days. On the fourth day, they almost miss the musher they're to meet because Seppala can't see or hear in the storm. However, Togo's ears shoot up, and Seppala finally hears the other musher's voice. Another team ends up taking the serum the last leg to Nome, and this is where the controversy begins. The other musher, Gunnar Kaasen, and his dog, Balto, owned and trained by Seppala, made the final leg of the journey, also with much difficulty. A hero's welcome awaited them in Nome, and Kaasen's and Balto's names became well known around the world. Togo gave his all to get the serum to Nome, and never raced again. Balto spent his last days at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, along with his sled mates, and a statue of him was erected in New York's Central Park. However one views the days after the race, it was nothing short of a miracle that the dogs and mushers of the great serum race covered the same distance in five days that it took the U.S. mail system 30 days to cover, and did so in the most horrendous weather conditions imaginable. Carolyn Rowe Hill
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book could be bought just for the illustrations. They are beautiful and haunting. The story is also very good. It very much gives a sense of the cold and struggle the man and sled dogs went through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally knew Leonhard Seppala when I was in 5th grade in Seattle, around 1960. The Seppala's had retired to Seattle and lived in my neighborhood. At the time I didn't fully appreciate the feats that Leonhard had accomplished, but I would stop after school to visit him and to hear tales about Togo. I can still remember to this day how saddened he was that Balto had gotten the glory in the serum race, recognition that truly deserved to go to his remarkable lead dog Togo. This book is beautifully illustrated and expertly written. It is clear that Robert J. Blake has fully researched the subject. As I read his book I felt it was very true to the story as it had been told to me by Leonhard, himself. In recent years Balto has emerged in book and video as a hero. Leonhard Seppala considered Balto a scrub freight dog and would have been sickened to see this. I am thrilled that Robert J. Blake has at last done justice to the true heroes of the Great Serum Race - Leonhard and Togo. Thank you Mr. Blake, may Leonhard and Togo now rest in peace.