Saturday, June 1, 2013

War Dogs by Kathryn Selbert: Book Review

War Dogs: Churchill and Rufus
War Dogs
Kathryn Selbert
Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2013
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Ages: 5 up, Picture Book

War Dogs is about two ‘real’ war dogs, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his beloved pet poodle Rufus. During World War II, Winston (also known as the British Bulldog) lived in a secret underground bunker in London with war office staff, his wife Clementine, and Rufus. Selbert describes the busy life that Winston led during the war. Writing war speeches and following the war’s progress were among his many duties. He delivered speeches to the House of Commons and met with his advisors, too. Rufus was Winston’s faithful companion and best friend throughout all and rarely left his side. He listened to Winston’s deepest concerns about the war. He was there when London was bombed and walked with Winston in the aftermath, surveying the damage. Then he waited faithfully for Winston’s return as he met with leaders in America and Russia on how to end the war. D-day, the invasion of Normandy, and soon the end of the war came, and Rufus returned to the countryside with Winston to rest. 

Selbert gently touches on London’s worst moments during the war, the bombings that took lives and destroyed its buildings by fire. She then shows the aftermath of the war when London rebuilt and started over again. Illustrations are in rich color, vivid and lifelike, but thoughtful of younger eyes. Rufus is on most pages and moves the story forward. A Time Line and short bio of Winston and Rufus are provided at the end. War Dogs is a good introduction to World War II history for young readers, but adults will need to explain the events as they unfold.

Copyright 2013 © Sharon M. Himsl



 

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