Monday, June 26, 2017

Duke by Kirby Larson

It isn't often that I find a book for middle grade students that teaches me something new, but Duke by Kirby Larson does just that. I never knew that American citizens sent their pets to help with the war effort. Published in 2013, Larson has done her homework on this story set in Seattle during WWII.

Hobie's dad is in Europe flying planes, and Hobie feels a real pull to do all he can at home for the war effort. When he learns about a program that uses dogs to help the soldiers, he reluctantly sends his beloved dog Duke. Now that he has sent him, he does all he can to get his dog back.

The reader gets to see the emotions that Hobie goes through as he tries to make his father proud, yet still get his dog back home safely. We see the growth of his character. Larson adds all the other issues facing people back home. Trying to send care packages to soldiers and POWs, ration stamps, lack of shoes, gasoline, and rubber. She has sprinkled in the flavor the time well.

I have to admit that the letters Hobie sends back and forth to the soldier who has Duke made me cry at times.

The story is tender and heartwarming. I listened to the audio version, and while it was good, when the narrator did girl voices, it was a bit grating, so I may have enjoyed it more had I read it.

Hobie's relationships with his family, friends, and the neighborhood bully are handled well. He is a good big brother who gets annoyed at times with his little sister. I found this realistic. Any dog lover in your life or classroom will like this book.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

No comments:

Post a Comment